Republican club whose maskless conga line went viral responds: Adults have the right to make their own decisions
A New York Republican club on Tuesday responded to outrage over a video showing people at a party it hosted gathering in a Conga line without masks, writing in a Facebook post that “adults have the absolute right to make their own decisions.”
The Whitestone Republican Club, whose gathering in Queens, N.Y., occurred before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) halted indoor dining starting Dec. 14, hosted at least 50 guests indoors at an Italian restaurant, Il Bacco. New York prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people at the time.
The group wrote in its social media post Tuesday, “Yes, we held a holiday party. A good time was had by all. We abided by all precautions. But we are not the mask police, nor are we the social distancing police.
“Adults have the absolute right to make their own decisions, and clearly many chose to interact like normal humans and not paranoid zombies in hazmat suits,” the club continued. “This is for some reason controversial to the people who believe it’s their job to tell us all what to do.
“We ALL have the inalienable right under the First Amendment to peaceably assemble, and that’s what we did,” the post went on to say. “There’s no pandemic clause in the Constitution, no matter how badly the media and Cuomo want you to believe otherwise.”
“We urge ALL New Yorkers regardless of political affiliation to go out and enjoy the holidays in whatever way makes them happy and comfortable. Make your own calculated decisions, don’t give in to fear or blindly obey the media and politicians, and respect the decisions of others,” the organization added.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month issued guidance saying, “The safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home with people who live with you.” Other health professionals, including top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, have also urged people to avoid larger gatherings and travel over Christmas.
This comes as New York has experienced a new surge in coronavirus infections, especially in Queens. As of Tuesday, the state’s department of health has recorded a total of more than 878,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with nearly 12,000 newly reported infections on Tuesday alone.
The state has also had more than 29,000 coronavirus-related deaths, with more than 5,000 of these occurring in Queens County alone.
The owners of Il Bacco filed a class-action lawsuit against city and state officials earlier this year for banning indoor dining. Restaurant owner Tina Maria Oppedisano told the Queens Daily Eagle that the restaurant followed coronavirus restriction rules for the Republican club’s gathering.
“That party was absolutely not in violation. We did exactly as we were told,” she said. “Every single person that walked into the business was checked in and given a temperature check.”