Proud Boys Among Those Protesting Shutdown of Staten Island Bar That Refused to Follow Pandemic Rules

The bar's co-owner was arrested earlier this week. Staten Island at large, meanwhile, is dealing with a deeply troubling spike in COVID-19 cases.

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Apparent members of the so-called Proud Boys, designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were among those who showed up on Wednesday to make a commotion about a Staten Island bar whose pattern of COVID-19 violations had forced a closure.

The total number of largely maskless people who decided to risk it all during a pandemic outside Mac's Public House was in the hundreds, per a Washington Postreport filed early Thursday. The gathering hit one day after local deputies busted the establishment for offering food and drinks to customers indoors beyond the 10 p.m. cutoff made mandatory by the city. According to the Post, Mac's had been allowing people to pay $40 to eat inside beyond that curfew time.

When NYPD cops killed #EricGarner in Staten Island for allegedly selling loosies, these fascists cheered it & supported the cops.

But when cops shut down a bar in an area with high COVID rates, all of a sudden, they're screaming about "freedom" & the rights of small businessmen.

— Ash J (@AshAgony) December 3, 2020

And on Tuesday, Danny Presti—the co-owner of the bar—was arrested for obstructing governmental administration. While Mac's is not the only establishment in the Trump-favoring region to have embarked on a campaign of rejecting pandemic safety measures and related mandates, the bar—thanks to developments like a co-owner’s arrest and Wednesday night’s protest—has become something of a staple in headlines this week.

In addition to requests on Twitter for police to become more involved with intervening on the Staten Island gathering, notably comparing the response to how protesters who gather (with far more masks) in support of social justice are treated, the Proud Boys were also mentioned in a New York Postreport

Hey @NYPDShea @NYCMayor @NYGovCuomo Why aren't the police stopping this riot in Staten Island? We can't even get down the street. No masks. Threats. Aggression. What gives? Because they aren't black???

— ✨mvp✨ (@mvp729125) December 2, 2020

Per the Post, chants were heard outside Mac’s including "Proud Boys in the house" and "I am a proud Western Chauvinist."

Staten Island reported its highest daily increase in COVID-19 numbers since mid-April on Wednesday. Hospitalizations in the borough are also on the rise. Nationwide, the numbers are also far from comforting, with Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health leaders strongly cautioning against any loosening of pandemic guidelines for the holiday season.

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