NewsLocal News


Business owners confront health department as it attempts to shut down gathering

Posted at 7:20 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 23:40:42-05

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s a video that’s gone viral—even being re-tweeted by Donald Trump Jr. that shows Erie County Health Sanitarians inside a private gym in Orchard Park, escorted by Erie County Sheriff’s Deputies.

“They found out they messed with the wrong bunch of patriots,” said Robby Dinero, owner of Athlete’s Unleashed.

Dinero was hosting a protest for business owners, inside his private business Friday night for local business owners concerned about their livelihood after the State shut down portions of Erie County.

“I’m not here to argue with the Governor or the County Executive about spike rates—I don’t care,” he said. “Freedom can never be subjugated to fear,” he said.

Dinero says the health sanitarians came onto private property, and had no business being there.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the health department received a tip of a large gathering indoors.

“They have no business being here. They could not site us for anything. The health department official was unable to articulate why she was there.”

It was then frustrated business owners showed them the door.

“We will enforce the rules,” Poloncarz says.

Members of the Libertarian Party in Buffalo are calling on Sheriff Howard not to enforce Governor Cuomo’s rules.

“The irresponsibility lies with the person enforcing these mandates,” said one member of the party.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office says:

“The Erie County Sheriff’s Office does not manage, issue, or enforce the civil mandates for COVID restrictions imposed by New York State. Those actions are the sole responsibility of the Erie County Health Department., Deputies have been assigned to health department inspectors to provide security for all parties involved and maintain a civil environment. The Deputies have not arrested anyone or interfered with passive resistance since New York implemented the restrictions.”

Dinero, who is hosting another protest Monday night says he’s not denying the virus, or denying people are getting sick, but wants the freedom to be a responsible business owner and make a living.

Monday night hundreds gathered at a parking lot on Southwestern Boulevard in Orchard Park. Protesters and business owners were calling for the end of New York State COVID-19 restrictions. Most said they want people to choose what is best for them and leave the government out of their decisions.

“Freedom which I fought for, which I deployed three times to the Middle East for can’t be given away, it just can’t,” he said.