From mask mandates to business lockdowns, many people in US are pushing back on restrictions imposed by the government to contain COVID-19 around the country.
In Houston over the weekend, protesters marched outside Miller’s Cafe chanting “Boycott Miller’s” in reaction to the restaurant’s enforcement of mask-wearing indoors.
A mask mandate has been in place in the largest city of Texas since June during the pandemic. The city regulation orders businesses to require customers to wear masks while in their establishments.
In Fresno, California, a group of anti-mask protesters blocked the entrance to a Trader Joe’s supermarket on Saturday, leading to its early closing for the day, the San Francisco Gate website said.
A video on social media shows one protester reading a prepared list of reasons why Trader Joe’s must serve him despite his refusal to wear a mask. He was cheered on by a group of supporters, many recording on their phones.
In New York City, Mac’s Public House on Staten Island violated coronavirus restrictions inside a designated orange zone and was shut down by police in early December.
The bar’s co-owner and manager, Daniel Presti, was arrested then released. He ran his car into a sheriff’s deputy who was trying to rearrest him for continuing to serve the public. The deputy’s legs were broken in the incident.
New York regulations prohibit restaurants and bars in an orange zone from serving customers indoors and from operating after 10 pm. In an orange zone, indoor and outdoor gatherings, among other activities, are limited to 10 people. Such measures have been questioned by residents on social media.
New Yorkers are not alone in resisting restrictions.
“There are now about seven restaurants in a 15-mile (about 24 kilometers) radius of my house in Southern California that are fully open defying the draconian lockdown orders. Those restaurants have people lined up around the block to eat there!” tweeted Dr Dawn [email protected] on Jan 2.
Sometimes government officials have joined the bandwagon against restrictions.
When Mayor Steve Adler in Austin, Texas, and Travis County Judge Andy Brown issued an order banning indoor and outdoor dining from 10:30 pm to 6 am on Dec 31 through Jan 3, Texas Governor Greg Abbott advised the business owners to ignore the order.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Austin and Travis County to stop the curfew, but a district judge upheld the order.
Some officials, however, haven’t practiced what they’ve prescribed for the public.
In November, Adler hosted an outdoor wedding for his daughter and then flew with seven other people in a private jet to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where they vacationed for a week.
Adler later said he regretted his travel in a statement.
“My fear is that this travel, even having happened during a safer period, could be used by some as justification for risky behavior,” he said.
A News release by the Transportation Security Administration on Monday said the federal agency screened close to 18 million people during the Christmas holidays despite the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention having warned against holiday travel while COVID-19 surged across the country.