Five individuals were arrested Monday night after a group of anti-vaxxers stormed a Burger King in downtown Brooklyn, New York to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates that recently went into effect citywide.
Videos of the protest at 417 Fulton Street circulated online, with many of them leaving as soon as officers with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) arrived.
But few videos of the event have captured as much attention as one featuring a woman proclaiming that she and her cohort can't be kicked out of Burger King because "it's open to the public."
She doubles down when informed that Burger King is, in fact, a private business, telling officers:
"No it's not. If it was private, they would do it [allow people to order food] by appointment only."
The woman's remarks show a remarkable lack of comprehension of the right of businesses to refuse service.
Businesses have a legal right to decline to provide their goods or services to customers provided they aren’t discriminating against certain customers and violating federal anti-discrimination laws on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability.
Those who refuse to abide by the recommendations of public health experts and comply with New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate are not a protected class.
New York City's private-sector vaccine mandate, which went into effect this week, requires nearly 185,000 businesses to track vaccine proof for employees. It also requires anyone aged 12 and up to show proof of full vaccination to eat indoors at New York City restaurants or enter other indoor venues, like movie theaters, gyms or arenas.
The mandate comes as the city deals with a surge of COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, which is more contagious than prior variants, including Delta. The mandate was announced earlier this month, just days after the city reported its first Omicron case.
The woman's claim exposed her and her fellow anti-vaxxers to significant mockery on social media.
According to Sergeant Edward Riley, a spokesperson for the NYPD, five arrests occurred at approximately 7:34 a.m.
Five men–Michael Mitchell, 36, of Brooklyn; Augusto Alarcon, 39, of the Bronx; Ethan Boisvert, 41, of Queens; Mitchell Bosch, 41, of Brooklyn; and Bradford Solomon, 44, of Queens–were charged with trespassing.
Earlier this year, Bosch participated in the January 6 insurrection, which took place when a mob of former President Donald Trump's stormed the United States Capitol on the false premise the 2020 general election had been stolen.
This is Bosch's third arrest this month. He was previously arrested during protests at a Cheesecake Factory and Applebee’s.