New York business owners protesting COVID-19 restrictions put in place by Governor Andrew Cuomo confronted and chased away county health department agents after compassionately asking the bureaucrats to leave them alone.
About 100 business owners gathered inside the Athletes Unleashed gym in Orchard Park on Friday night to organize against the new “orange zone” regulations that requires businesses deemed unessential by the state to shut down and limits indoor gatherings to 10 people.
Video from the gathering shows the moment the business owners confronted two officials from the Erie County Department of Health, escorted by sheriff’s deputies, who were attempting to shut down the meeting.
“We’re asking to build your compassionate side,” one of the business owner pleads with the health agents. “Our tax dollars guarantee your guys’ paychecks, but some of these people actually work for their money and they don’t want to lose their livelihood.”
The man goes on to say that he has personally lost friends, family and clients to suicide after they had lost their livelihoods since the start of the pandemic.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” one of the health agents responds.
“I know you are but I’m asking for you to have some compassion for the people who have lost everything,” the business owner pleads again.
The confrontation then escalates as the small business entrepreneurs demand the health agents leave the gym.
“It’s private property, go get a warrant!” one man in attendance demands. “Listen Ma’am, this is private property you’re not wanted here.”
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“Mass civil disobedience starts now!” another man shouts.
Eventually, the business owners chase the unwanted visitors out of the building while chanting “GET OUT, GET OUT!” and continuously demand they leave the property entirely.
Bar owner and event promoter Tim Walton, who attended the Friday gathering, told local news in the wake of the confrontation:
The biggest thing is this is not about me. This is not about that bar, this restaurant, this salon. This is about everyone’s freedoms.
“You can’t just walk into somebody’s business especially without knocking. This is America. It doesn’t work like that,” said Walton.
“It absolutely was a protest – inside my building,” Athletes Unleashed owner Robby Dinero said.
He explained the goal of the gathering was to fight back against what he believes is unfair treatment of small businesses.
“Walmart can stay open, small businesses can’t. Large businesses can stay open, sole proprietors can’t. We believe that [Cuomo’s] shutdown orders aren’t being issued fairly across the board,” said Dinero.
While no one was cited and no arrests were made, the footage likely gives an insight into the broader attitude of entrepreneurs within states that have implemented strict COVID shutdown orders.
Source: Planet Free Will
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