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Restaurant, Bar Owners To Push Back Against NBA Lockout

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TWC News: Restaurant, Bar Owners To Push Back Against NBA Lockout
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Some city restaurant owners say the NBA lockout is leaving them out in the cold.

“When there’s an NBA game on here, there's a great buzz here. I'm not saying the place is packed, but there's people eating, people drinking,” says Paul Hurley, owner of P.D. O’Hurley’s.

Hurley says business has dropped by at least a third, and he's not the only one crying foul. While players and owners argue over millions, bartender Claudine Gallagher says she's down roughly $100 a shift.

“Yeah, I don't think they're worried about it. They're not worried about us bartenders and waitresses and stuff, but it's definitely impacted everybody, you know?” says Gallagher.

“Nobody's making money. The staff's not making money, house not making money. Just disappointed there's no games,” says Hurley.

With local businesses said to have lost as much as $40 million in revenue and all games cancelled until at least mid-December, restaurant owners are launching a full court press. Joined by State Senator Malcolm Smith, they're calling on the owners and players to get the ball rolling.

“Every day people are out there hurting. This is a time when people need their jobs and need their funds,” said Smith. “We're trying to tell them this is a lot bigger than them and it's time to think about the regular person and do the greater good,” says Smith.

The United Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association will be circulating a petition available in over 3,000 bars and restaurants around the region. They hope to collect one million signatures. In the meantime, they say fans need to be vocal.

“Whether they write to Derek Fisher, whether they write to David Stern, whether they write to each of the players, they need to push very aggressively,” says Smith.

And while he recognizes that the petition will at best only lead the two sides to water, Smith says, “I'm asking them to come on and drink. It's time for them to get back to work.”

So far, 22 regular and eight pre-season games have been cancelled: fully a third of the Knicks season.

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