OCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Tim Walton, who is in the bar industry and a promoter from Buffalo, said that on Friday night about 100 business owners and workers came together at Athletes Unleashed. They discussed what could be done to stay safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but also ensure that businesses can reopen again.
With certain industries in Erie County being shut down by the recent orange zone announcement, owners are concerned.
“The biggest thing is this is not about me. This is not about that bar, this restaurant, this salon. This is about everyone’s freedoms,” said Walton.
“I’m trying to organize local business owners whose businesses are negatively affected by Governor Cuomo’s shutdown orders, organize them to fight back and reopen," explained Robby Dinero, Athletes Unleashed owner.
Attendees say that they feel that the current decisions aren’t fair.
“Walmart can stay open, small businesses can’t. Large businesses can stay open, sole proprietors can’t. We believe that his shutdown orders aren’t being issued fairly across the board," said Dinero.
During the meeting, Walton says that two officials from the Erie County Department of Health, escorted by sheriff’s deputies, walked in, saying that the meeting needed to end.
“Obviously there was more people there than they wanted. The place was huge. Everybody was a couple feet apart. You’re sitting with the people you came with," added Walton.
Attendees became upset.
“You can’t just walk into somebody’s business especially without knocking. This is America. It doesn’t work like that," said Walton.
According to Walton, some attendees told the officials that they were recording them.
“If you do not leave, we’ll take this further. Everyone started chanting ‘get out’ and they left," said Walton.
Spectrum News has reached out to the health department and has been told that more information is being gathered and will be shared on Monday.