Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy blasted New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to close New York City's restaurants in a video rant that has gone viral.
Cuomo announced Friday that New York City restaurants will be ordered to close indoor dining services Monday as the city battles surging coronavirus cases. Restaurants are permitted to provide takeout, delivery, and host outdoor dining, though the approaching winter weather could make dining outside unattractive.
In a video posted to social media, Portnoy accused Cuomo and other politicians of stealing Americans' right to earn a living.
Politicians Are Stealing the Basic Right To Earn A Living https://t.co/9Yx9Vf1iP1— Dave Portnoy (@Dave Portnoy) 1607708788.0
"New York City just closed indoor dining. What do they think is going to happen? What do they think is going to happen to thousands of restaurants — they're done!" Portnoy exclaimed.
"The bar and restaurant industry and small businesses have been squeezed and squeezed and squeezed, and they've tried everything. They've been as creative as possible!"
Noting how bars and restaurants have adopted social distancing protocols, changed seating arrangements, and built plexiglass and other barriers to continue to serve customers during the pandemic, Portnoy lamented that the despite these efforts the government is ordering businesses to stop serving customers.
"How do you expect these people to survive? What are people going to go out to dinner now in ice cold temperatures? It's insanity!" he said.
"Listen, the vaccine is right around the corner. If you're health-impaired, you're afraid of it, you're old, don't go out. Stay inside for three months, the vaccine is coming. But let people decide!" he continued.
"I can't believe in this country, what I consider the most basic right of them all — the right to earn a living, the right to earn a livelihood — is now being stolen, it is being stolen by a few politicians who believe they are smarter than me and you. They believe they have the right to tell me and you how to live our lives," Portnoy said. "They're saying they're protecting us, let us protect ourselves. You're not protecting a family that you just destroyed. These people aren't getting their livelihoods back."
He also criticized the lack of uniformity in the coronavirus restrictions, noting how they vary from state to state or even from county to county. He also suggested that telling restaurants to close won't deter people from going out.
"If somebody wants to go out, where do you think they're going? House parties!" he said. "It doesn't even make sense ... the people who will be going to these restaurants are still going out, I promise you. All you're doing is ruining thousands and thousands and thousands of lives."
"In this country, politicians are taking away to the right to earn a living. It's that simple and it's insanity," Portnoy stated.