- The Washington Times - Monday, December 14, 2020

New York’s indoor dining ban isn’t stopping Gov. Andrew Cuomo from filling a campaign war chest or celebrating his birthday in style.

Celebrities such as Whoopi Golberg, Robert De Niro and Henry Winkler of “Happy Days” fame are scheduled to take part in a pricey virtual fundraiser for the Democrat just days after an indoor dining ban takes effect.

Thursday’s belated “Virtual Birthday and Holiday Reception” (Mr. Cuomo turned 63 on Dec. 6) has online signup for host-level participants who want to drop $10,000 on his reelection campaign.

“Friend”-level attendees are expected to send the governor $5,000, while Patron and Guest tiers donate $2,500 and $1,000 respectively. 

The comes three days after a controversial COVID-19 policy begins, which shuts down all indoor dining in New York “Red Zones.”

Mr. Cuomo’s rule requires businesses to close once hospitals in their designated region hit 90% capacity.

“We’re gonna close indoor dining in New York City,” he said Friday. “Outdoor dining and takeout continues. Outside of New York City and in the orange zones, we’re gonna watch the indoor dining data. The numbers are down in the chart, but we’re gonna watch over this weekend, and we’ll make any adjustments next week if the data suggests.”

Not likely to be in attendance at the virtual fundraiser is another famous face: Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. 

The sports media entrepreneur blasted Mr. Cuomo last week in a viral video for the latest pandemic plans.

“[Small business owners have] been as creative as you can be to save their livelihood, to save what they’ve spent decades of blood, sweat, and tears building,” he said Friday. “They’ve done whatever. They’ve scratched and clawed, and now a few politicians New York City is like, ‘Eh, you’re done! We’re shutting it down! No indoor dining.’ … It’s insanity. … I can’t believe in this country what I consider the most basic right of them all — the right to earn a living — the right to earn a livelihood is now being stolen.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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