On Friday, a group of about 50 business owners and their supporters faced off against two sheriffs and a health inspector at Athletes Unleashed, a gym located in Orchard Park, The Buffalo News reported.
The owner of the gym called it a “…protest of the state’s ‘orange zone’ regulations that have closed gyms, salons and other businesses deemed nonessential,” the report said.
Maki Becker added:
No one was cited and no arrests were made, according to two people who attended, but video of the incident shows an Erie County health inspector accompanied by three sheriff’s deputies arriving about 20 minutes after the gathering began.
“It absolutely was a protest – inside my building,” said the gym’s owner, Robby Dinero, who described the state’s rules forcing some businesses to close as arbitrary.
The video, which circulated on social media Saturday morning, shows a tense back and forth, with one deputy pointing out that people weren’t wearing masks and the protesters accusing county representatives of trespassing and entering the property without a warrant.
Video posted online shows the business owners confronting the deputies and the inspector, telling them in no uncertain terms they needed a warrant.
“You’re on private property. You need to leave,” one owner said. Eventually, the deputies and the inspector left, with the unmasked business owners following.
“We will not comply! We will not comply,” they shouted.
“Take your Commie sh*t elsewhere,” one of them declared.
“I called this meeting together so we could protest the closing of small businesses, the handpicking of winners and losers,” Dinero told The Buffalo News.
He also highlighted what he sees as hypocrisy in the government’s actions, Becker reported:
Dinero pointed out that authorities didn’t try to stop Black Lives Matter protests over the summer or celebrations of Joe Biden’s victory after the election. “It was no problem for people to come out then,” he said.
Dinero said he refused to shut down earlier this spring but was visited by a Orchard Park building inspector, accompanied by two police officers, who threatened to revoke his certificate of occupancy and shut off his utilities if he didn’t comply.
“What kind of tactics are those?” he questioned.
He ended up shutting down, Dinero said.
According to the report, neither the health inspector nor the deputies specified what rules Dinero and the others allegedly violated.
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