New York Republican club under fire for maskless conga line

New York Republican club under fire for maskless conga line


New York Republican club under fire for maskless conga line

New York Republican club under fire for maskless conga line

A New York Republican club has been criticised after a video went viral of some of its members participating in a conga line without wearing face masks.

On Monday, journalist Matt Binder shared a clip to Twitter of members of the Whitestone Republican Club joining a conga line at the organisation’s Christmas party, which was held at Italian restaurant, Il Bacco, in Queens, New York City, on 9 December.

In the video, 16 maskless members of the Republican club join a conga line as an attendee at the front holds a “Trump 2020” flag. The Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing” plays in the background.

At one point in the clip, the conga line was led by Vickie Paladino, a Republican candidate for the New York City Council, according to The Hill.

The event, which had around 50 attendees, was held before indoor dining was banned in the state by New York governor Andrew Cuomo on 14 December. However, indoor gatherings were limited to a maximum of 10 people at the time of the party.

Mr Binder captioned the video on Monday: “The Whitestone Republican Club in NYC apparently held a Christmas party this year without a care in the world about covid.”

The party was criticised by social media users, including Academy Award winning actress Patricia Arquette, who replied to Mr Binder’s tweet: “No one should have to treat these people.”

Arquette added: “Dumb and Dumber. It’s the final countdown!” while Mr Cuomo replied: “Covid conga lines are not smart.”

The actions of the Republican club were criticised by thousands more, as the video was viewed by more than 3.2 million people by Wednesday morning.

Robert Hornack, a spokesman for the Whitestone Republican Club, claimed to the Queens Daily Eagle that the party did not break any coronavirus guidelines.

“We held an intimate gathering observing all the Covid guidelines in place at the time. Every attendee was told to wear a mask, and everyone had one when entering, or was given one,” Mr Hornak said.

He added: “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.”

Tina Maria Oppedisano, the owner of the restaurant, also denied that the party broke New York coronavirus guidelines, telling the Queens Daily Eagle: “That party was absolutely not in violation. We did exactly as we were told.”

She added: “Every single person that walked into the business was checked in and given a temperature check.”

Although Covid-19 cases have risen dramatically across the US over the last two months, the White House has held several holiday parties, with 25 of them indoors, according to The Hill.

Other Republican leaders have also hosted gatherings, as Mississippi governor Tate Reeves has held at least three Christmas parties, while Florida governor Ron DeSantis hosted one last week.

New York averaged around 10,400 new coronavirus cases a day at the time of the party on 9 December, according to The Washington Post.

Since the start of the pandemic, New York has recorded more than 871,000 coronavirus cases and at least 36,300 deaths. Queens County has recorded close to 111,000 coronavirus cases and more than 5,000 deaths.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 18.2 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 322,851.




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