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In a celebration more danse macabre than tripping the light fantastic, members of a Republican club in Queens, New York, partied without masks or social distancing during a mid-pandemic indoor Christmas party, a viral video shows.
The Queens Daily Eagle reported that city council candidate Vickie Paladino and members of the Whitestone Republican Club staged their festive event on 9 December at Il Bacco, a restaurant which filed suit against Governor Andrew Cuomo on 28 August, demanding to be allowed to resume indoor dining, against public health restrictions in place in New York at the time.
Indoor dining did resume in New York City in late September, but on 11 December Cuomo announced that the prohibition would resume due to rising positive cases.
In video posted to Twitter, Paladino can be seen dancing in and around a 13-person conga line led by James Martinosky, a former Republican candidate for the state assembly carrying a Trump 2020 flag.
“I’m not holding that,” Paladino apparently says when Martinosky tries handing her the flag.
Journalist Matt Binder posted the video to Twitter.
Approximately 50 people participated or watched from tables near the dance floor. In the video, one person can be seen wearing a mask. Robert Hornak, a spokesman for the Whitestone Republican Club, reportedly said the event was held before officials reinstated the indoor dining ban and partygoers largely followed Covid-19 safety requirements.
“We held an intimate gathering observing all the Covid guidelines in place at the time,” the Queens Daily Eagle quoted Hornak as saying. “Every attendee was told to wear a mask, and everyone had one when entering, or was given one.
“Everyone there had a great time and we were pleased that we gave people that time to be together with others of like mind and spirit as we get ready to move forward into what will hopefully be a much better 2021.”
The owner of Il Bacco, Tina Maria Oppedisano, insisted her restaurant followed coronavirus restrictions in place on the event date, when indoor dining was permitted at 25% capacity.
“That party was absolutely not in violation,” Oppedisano said. “We did exactly as we were told. Every single person that walked into the business was checked in and given a temperature check.”
She also said the party was held on two floors, including the patio outside.
The restaurant is in an area of Queens where the seven-day coronavirus positivity rate hit 6.53% as of 18 December, the newspaper said, as New York City sees a second wave of infections. As of Monday, the citywide positivity rate was 6.05%, officials said. Public health experts have said the virus is considered under control if the positivity rate does not exceed 5%.
“The Covid-19 spike we’re seeing can be directly traced back to Thanksgiving travel,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Covid conga: maskless Republicans do pandemic danse macabre | US news