Orchard Park, New York, November 22, 2020: On Friday night, Erie County Sheriff’s Office escorted the Erie County Health Department into AthletesUnleashed, an Orchard Park fitness center, in an attempt to break up a gathering of several local business owners, who were meeting to discuss how to weather the increased restrictions being imposed by New York State in light of COVID-19. In a video that has now gone viral, the business owners stood up to officials representing the Erie County Sheriff’s Department and Health Department, and after several minutes of peaceful protest, the business owners escorted the officials out of the gym.
Duane Whitmer, 2nd Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of New York and a small business owner himself, can be seen speaking with passion during the video, calmly calling for compassion from the officials.
“The meeting… was a diverse group of small business owners with an array of differing political opinions, coming together to discuss how to stay open, how to pay their bills, and how to make sure their families will stay fed in case of another lockdown,” Whitmer, who is also Chair of the Erie County Libertarian Party, explained in a statement. “What I heard at the meeting was small business owners getting shut down and losing their livelihoods while big box retailers are allowed to stay open with limited regulations.”
(For Whitmer’s full statement, go here)
The Libertarian Party holds steadfastly to the belief that any business engaging in voluntary transactions with the public to provide a means for paying their bills or supporting a family is essential, as well as an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights protecting them against illegal search. In support of these positions, as well as business owners and the reasons behind their civil disobedience, Whitmer will be speaking at a press conference with other business owners and organizations on Monday, November 23 at 11:00 AM, outside the Erie County Sheriff’s Office at 10 Delaware Ave. in Buffalo, where he will call upon Erie County Sheriff Howard to direct his deputies to stop working with the Department of Health.
1st Vice Chair
Libertarian Party of New York