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Whitestone Republican Club under fire for maskless celebration

Screenshot via Twitter/@MattBinder

It’s difficult to maintain social distance in a conga line.

The Whitestone Republican Club came under fire this week after a video of its members partying and dancing maskless indoors circulated online.

Shared from a private Facebook group by journalist Matt Binder, the clip shows members of the local political club being led through a conga line by hardline conservative and City Council candidate Vickie Paladino.

The party, which took place on Friday, Dec. 11, at Il Bacco Risturante in Little Neck, appeared to be a celebration void of COVID-19 guidelines, despite the Republican Club suggesting otherwise.

“In early December we held a small gathering observing all the covid [sic] guidelines in place at the time,” the club wrote on its Facebook page this week. “Every attendee was told to wear a mask and everyone either had one when entering or was given one.”

According to the club’s Facebook page, no one who attended the party has since come down with the virus, which has killed over 36,000 people in New York in the past nine months.

“Yes, we held a holiday party. A good time was had by all,” the club wrote in a separate post. “But we are not the mask police, nor are we the social distancing police. Adults have the absolute right to make their own decisions, and clearly many chose to interact like normal humans and not paranoid zombies in hazmat suits.”

The party was held the day Governor Andrew Cuomo announced indoor dining would be shut down in the state the following Monday, Dec. 14.

The video made its way to the Cuomo, who the owners of Il Bacco sued over indoor dinning restrictions earlier this year.

“I saw the video — COVID conga lines are not smart. That’s my official position,” Cuomo said. “Why you would do an unmasked conga line in the middle of a COVID pandemic, whatever your political persuasion, defies logical explanation, as far as I’m concerned.”

The Queens GOP flocked to support Joe Oppedisano, the owner of the restaurant, and his daughter, Tina Oppedisano, who manages Il Bacco, after they filed a $2 billion class action action lawsuit against city and state leadership in August, claiming the shut down in New York City led to “irreparable harm” for the eatery and the industry at large.

The owner, who crashed a seaplane in the Flushing Bay in October, is a vocal supporter of outgoing President Donald Trump.

Neither Il Bacco’s ownership nor Paladino responded to QNS’ request for comment.

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