NY business owners have had it, kick out COVID enforcement officials: ‘Go get a warrant!’
In Buffalo, New York, business owners stood up to a local health inspector and sheriff’s deputies in defiance of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus-related restrictions on Friday. The officials showed up to enforce Cuomo’s mandates but then were told to get off their property because they did not have a warrant to be there.
The owners chanted, “Get out!” and “We will not comply!” Then they proceeded to drive the officials out of the building. They cited the constitution and told the officials to either get a warrant or arrest them. Someone allegedly reported the businesses anonymously for not complying with Cuomo’s orders.
Robby Dinero, who is the owner of Athletes Unleashed in Orchard Park, gathered more than 50 area business owners and over 100 people at his gym on Friday night at 7 PM to discuss Cuomo’s latest business-killing restrictions. Their goal was to plan how to survive the newest mandates.
20 or so minutes into their meeting, the Erie County Department of Health and deputies from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department forced their way into the gathering. They informed the business owners that they were violating the restrictions against more than ten people gathering in one place.
“It absolutely was a protest – inside my building,” said Dinero, who described the state’s rules forcing some businesses to close as arbitrary.
Dinero told The Buffalo News Saturday that there was nothing illegal about the gathering at his gym on Friday.
“I called this meeting together so we could protest the closing of small businesses, the handpicking of winners and losers,” Dinero said.
As a protest, Dinero said, the gathering was protected by law.
Dinero says they are in the process of organizing “some very dynamic protests” in the near future. The gym owner said the protests won’t be violent. “This isn’t a Second Amendment thing. This is not anti-vaxxers. There will be no guns, no fistfights. We’re civil, peaceful protesters but it’ll be led by a Marine.” Dinero served three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He also vowed to celebrate Thanksgiving the way he wants to.
“I’m going to have a huge family gathering and we’re not going to wear masks,” he said.
The video of the altercation has gone viral with many agreeing wholeheartedly with the stance the business owners took.
Business owners in Buffalo, NY demand “health inspector” leave private property. “Go get a warrant.”
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) November 21, 2020
One of the business owners told the health department official in attendance to have compassion on area businesses and when she said that she does, another business owner told the official, “OK, well you need to go have compassion out in the parking lot.”
“This is private property. This is private property. This is private property,” the man informed the health department official. He then told the sheriff’s deputies to “do your jobs.”
“Your job is to remove people who are not wanted here,” the man said. One of the deputies responded by lecturing the business owners for not wearing face masks.
Another owner then said, “You guys need to leave because right now, you’re trespassing without a warrant. You need to leave.” Others then repeated, “Go get a warrant.”
The confrontation continued with the business owners telling them, “You don’t get to violate the Constitution.”
“You don’t circumvent or subvert the Constitution.”
Tim Walton, who attended Friday night’s event, told the media that the business owners are not doubting the existence of COVID-19, but rather the arbitrary nature of Cuomo’s restrictions.
Meanwhile, Health Department spokeswoman Kara Kane told the Buffalo News, “We are gathering information and will have more to share in our press conference on Monday.”
No one was cited and no arrests were made.