Stratis Morfogen, owner of several popular New York City restaurants, is refusing to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates — and, in an interview on Thursday, challenged Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to arrest him.
What is the background?
While Hochul has not enacted a vaccine mandate for the Empire State, New York City has implemented a vaccine mandate that applies to restaurants and bars, fitness centers, entertainment venues, and other places where people congregate.
The mandate applies to both patrons and staff.
"People 12 and older participating in the below public indoor activities are now required to show proof they have received two vaccine doses, except for those who have received the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," the mandate reads. "People 18 and older are also required to show identification along with their proof of vaccination. These requirements — called the Key to NYC — also means employees working at these locations must be vaccinated."
What did Morfogen say?
Speaking with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Morfogen made himself clear: he will not fire any employees over politician-enacted vaccine mandates.
"I'm not doing the mandate, and I told Gov. Hochul to come and arrest me," Morfogen said.
"I'm not doing it because, first of all, the employees we have, these were our heroes. In the early part of COVID, we fed 8,400 health care workers," he explained. "I'm not firing these people for a jab, for a job."
Morfogen added that "none of this makes sense." He claimed that a fully vaccinated person who possesses a legitimate COVID-19 vaccination card is a "superspreader ... because I can have a vax-card, I can be asymptomatic-positive, and I can walk into my crowded restaurant ... and I can spread it to everyone!"
The restaurant owner further bashed politicians as people who do not understand what is necessary to operate a successful business.
"They never ran a lemonade stand. They never ran a small business," Morfogen said. "They don't know those sleepless nights, what it takes to run a business."
San Diego pastor: 'Drag is holy'