NY Biz Owner Battles CNN Over Returning Mask Mandates: ‘Blueprint for Indefinite Govt Restrictions’

One New York City business owner took CNN to task this morning, over their love for government lockdowns and mask mandates. After Mayor Bill De Blasio threatened to reinstitute mask mandates next week due to coronavirus variants, art dealer Eli Klein came onto CNN to blast the decision as “a blueprint for indefinite government restrictions in New York.”

Co-host John Berman started the interview reading a tweet from Klein criticizing the return of indoor mask mandates before welcoming his guest to the show and giving him time to share his opinion. The art dealer explained that no one has a problem wearing a mask, but it’s never just a mask, it’s a “blueprint for indefinite government restrictions in New York.” He added with vaccines widely available, “there has to be an off ramp:”

If we are subject to sweeping mask mandates now in the Summer, you know, let’s be honest, we don’t know when Covid levels will ever be lower than they are now in New York City. And that could put us on a slippery slope to all kinds of the same restrictions that we were subject to last year. I mean, things like micro cluster targeting and capacity limits and business shutdowns. It’s not just the mask. I think none of us have a problem just putting on a mask. It’s really much more than that. It’s a blueprint for indefinite government restrictions in New York which we’ve had vaccines available for everyone 12 plus for many months. And there has to be an end game. There has to be an off ramp. 

While friendly, Berman spent the remainder of the interview badgering Klein to accept the notion that more government mandates and restrictions were needed.

 

 

Fretting about the Delta variant, the CNN host asked if that made a difference in his opinion. But Klein again argued that the vaccines were widely available and effective so that shouldn’t be a reason for return of mask-wearing. He added: 

And you know, it’s a matter of obviously there’s issues with personal risk tolerance and whatnot, but it doesn’t change the fact that reimplementing mask mandates in New York City would stunt our recovery, would diminish tourism and many aspects of life. It would crush businesses that have already been crushed. 

But Berman kept trying. He asked next, “So you don’t like the idea of mask mandates. What about vaccine mandates?”

Klein argued that these mandates and lockdowns actually discriminated against minorities, because lockdowns put the burden on essential workers and minorities were disproportionately vaccine hesitant but also had higher amounts of natural immunity from being disproportionately impacted by the virus. 

According to New York’s own COVID-19 website, it’s even more disproportionate: As of July 29, only 12.6 percent of eligible African-Americans in New York City had taken at least one vaccine dose. 

But CNN’s Berman was sticking to his talking points, as he kept insisting the need for more government restrictions, which led Klein to explain again why this was both anti-business and discriminatory: [click expland]:

BERMAN: Why not hang a sign on your gallery that says you can come in here unmasked if you’re vaccinated or if you test negative for Covid?

KLEIN: Well, I mean, I think people know the rules. 

BERMAN: No. But Would that — would you be okay with the situation where you can come in unmasked, you don’t have to wear a mask if you’re unvaccinated? 

KLEIN: There’s no government guidelines right that are forcing me to do that, so — 

BERMAN: But you could. There’s nothing stopping you.

KLEIN: I could do anything. We could always do things to be more safer. 

BERMAN: But if your concern is that people don’t want to come into your gallery, which I hear is wonderful, by the way. 

KLEIN: Thank you. 

BERMAN: Masked, well then have them unmasked but vaccinated.

KLEIN: I just want to be clear my concern isn’t selfish. It’s not based on people coming into my gallery. My concern is I’m a lifelong New Yorker. Born and raised in Greenwich village. My concern is for New York in general and reimplementing these restrictions. 

BERMAN: Mask restrictions. 

KLEIN: Mask restriction leads to every restriction. We know that. We’ve seen it. 

BERMAN: Do you consider vaccine requirements to be a restriction? 

KLEIN: Are they technically a restriction, I suppose so, if someone is checking vaccine status upon entry it is. My biggest problem with that is that that effectively bans 60% of black people in New York from my gallery, for example. And am I prepared to ban the majority of black people from visiting my gallery, absolutely not, John. 

CNN pushing for more mandates and government restrictions was paid for by sponsors USAA, contact them at the conservatives fight back page here.

Read the transcript:

7/30/21

New Day

JOHN BERMAN: New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio says new guidance on indoor mask use in New York City will come as soon as Monday. It was only back in May that New Yorkers were allowed to go mask free indoors after a year of restrictions and lockdowns hit businesses hard. The prospect of indoor masking is not sitting well with Eli Klein, New York City art gallery owner. He tweeted out “a mask mandate is a slow down for all indoor entertainment venues, stadiums, gyms, theaters, concerts, clubs, malls, stores, et cetera. People don’t want to do these things if they have to cover their face.” And Eli Klein joins me here now in studio. Very nice to see you. 

ELI KLEIN: Thanks for having me, John. 

BERMAN: Thank you for being willing to speak out  about what you feel and what you’re seeing and come on and talk about it now. You really don’t want to go back to mask indoors in your gallery. 

KLEIN: Well, it’s not just about my gallery, it’s about New York City generally. If we are subject to sweeping mask mandates now in the Summer, you know, let’s be honest, we don’t know when covid levels will ever be lower than they are now in New York City. And that could put us on a slippery slope to all kinds of the same restrictions that we were subject to last year. I mean, things like micro cluster targeting and capacity limits and business shutdowns. It’s not just the mask. I think none of us have a problem just putting on a mask. It’s really much more than that. It’s a blueprint for indefinite government restrictions in New York which we’ve had vaccines available for everyone 12 plus for many months. And there has to be an end game. There has to be an off ramp. 

 BERMAN: We’ll talk about vaccines in just a second. I want to know because you’ve been listening, here for the beginning of the show, you heard the news about the delta variant, how much more contagious it could be and the fact it could make people even sicker. Does that have any impact on your view? 

KLEIN: No. Obviously it’s catastrophic news. And it’s something we should all take very seriously. We’ve been taking covid very seriously since the beginning. And it doesn’t impact my view with respect to reimplementing restrictions. The fact of the matter is that these vaccines are widely available. They’re extraordinarily effective. And you know, it’s a matter of obviously there’s issues with personal risk tolerance and whatnot, but it doesn’t change the fact that reimplementing mask mandates in New York City would stunt our recovery, would diminish tourism and many aspects of life. It would crush businesses that have already been crushed. 

BERMAN: Okay. So you don’t like the idea of mask mandates. What about vaccine mandates? 

BERMAN: Why not hang a sign on your gallery that says you can come in here unmasked if you’re vaccinated or if you test negative for covid? 

KLEIN: Well, I mean, I think people know the rules. 

BERMAN: No. Would that — would you be okay with the situation where you can come in unmasked, you don’t have to wear a mask if you’re unvaccinated? 

KLEIN: There’s no government guidelines right that are forcing me to do that, so — 

BERMAN: But you could. There’s nothing stopping you.
 

KLEIN: I could do anything. We could always do things to be more safer. 

BERMAN: But if your concern is that people don’t want to come into your gallery, which I hear is wonderful, by the way. 

KLEIN: Thank you. 

BERMAN: Masked, well then have them unmaxed but vaccinated. 

KLEIN: I just want to be clear my concern isn’t selfish. It’s not based on people coming into my gallery. My concern is I’m a lifelong new Yorker. Born and raised in Greenwich village. My concern is for New York in general and reimplementing these restrictions. 

BERMAN: Mask restrictions. 

KLEIN: Mask restriction leads to every restriction. We know that. We’ve seen it. 

BERMAN: Do you consider vaccine requirements to be a restriction? 

KLEIN: Are they technically a restriction, I suppose so, if someone is checking vaccine status upon entry it is. My biggest problem with that is that that effectively bans 60% of black people in New York from my gallery, for example. And am I prepared to ban the majority of black people from visiting my gallery, absolutely not, John. 

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