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Unvaccinated People Arrested in NYC While Protesting the City's Vaccine Mandate at Applebee’s

Protests also took place at two other nearby restaurants


Four people were arrested at an Applebee’s in Queens while protesting New York City’s vaccine mandate for restaurants.

New York City requires gyms, restaurants, and other indoor businesses to require patrons to show proof they are fully vaccinated before entry. 

Video of the Dec. 15 incident shows New York Police restraining protestors at the restaurant located in the Queens Center Mall. A crowd gathered around them, chanting “no more mandates.” In other footage, the crowd shows anti-mandate protestors chanting “Shame on you” at the officers.

“Can’t work, can’t eat,” said one woman in the recording as she was handcuffed. “I want to eat. You guys are busting me over this bull—-.”

“What happened to the Constitution? What happened to free speech?” yelled another protestor as he was taken from the restaurant in handcuffs.

According to Business Insider, “the Applebee’s protest came a day after six people were arrested at a Cheesecake Factory located in the same mall as the Applebee’s on Tuesday night. The group was asked to show proof of vaccination as required by New York’s vaccine mandate rules, but refused.”

The “sit-in” at The Cheesecake Factory was organized by New York Freedom Rally, which shared a flyer for the event on its social media pages. The group also shared videos of the arrests on Instagram

In one recording, a protestor can be heard telling an officer that they are there to “access the business during normal business hours” and that they were not “committing a crime.”

Those arrested included Eric Bascon, Mitchell Bosch, Graig Young, Raymond Velez, Augusto Alarcon, and Steven Wavra.

Alethea Rowe, senior director of public relations for Cheesecake Factory, called the protest and arrests an “unfortunate incident” in a statement.

“The company is simply complying with the local ordinance concerning Covid-19 vaccine requirements,” Rowe said. “We would like to thank our restaurant managers and staff for remaining focused on providing our guests with delicious, memorable food, and would like to thank local law enforcement for their support during this time.”

The same mall also had protestors rush into a Shake Shack without showing their vaccination cards. Videos of the incident were posted to Twitter.

The NYPD has been criticized for their arrest of the Applebee’s protestors, whose action some says are less destructive than political protests held in 2020.

During Black Lives Matter protests in New York City, police officers frequently did not respond to looting, protesting, rioting, or sometimes loud and often violent demonstrations inside city businesses,” wrote Shore News Network, adding that the department had not returned a request for comment.

Most of the circulating videos were captured by independent New York-based photographer Leeroy Johnson.

NYC is turning in to Australia. Why are the NYPD getting involved in mandates while their union is fighting the same mandate?” he wrote on Twitter

New York City mandated police to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 29. Over 6,500 officers have filed requests for medical or religious exemptions.

The Police Benevolent Association, the largest police union in the city, sued the department for sending out generic rejections and not properly reviewing and informing officers about their exemption status. The union seeks to stop exemption processing until a judge can review the protocol.

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