With strict social-distancing rules introduced around the United States over COVID-19 pandemic, some operators of small businesses have been experiencing major losses since having been instructed to close their doors. This has been especially visible in relation to the food and drink industry.
Presidential adviser Ivanka Trump has sparked a debate online after slamming “blanket lockdowns”, which she said were “not grounded in science”.
The comment was made as Trump’s daughter shared a viral clip showing a confrontation between California restaurant-owner Nick The Greek and health experts who had reportedly issued him a citation for staying open.
In the video, the restaurant’s boss Anton Van Happen is heard crying to the Ventura County Health Care Agency inspectors “Are you going to pay my rent…my employees?” following a suspension of his business permit in relation to COVID-19 restrictions.
The restaurateur’s compelling story resonated with the online crowd and caught the eye of the president’s daughter Ivanka, a public critic of lockdown measures.
In particular, the WH adviser said on Twitter that “arbitrary rules” like that were “destroying lives”.
According to Trump Jr., who had announced in the end of November that he had tested positive for coronavirus, the lockdowns were not based on science.
AP Photo / Evan VucciIvanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Kenosha Regional Airport, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis
His comments and those of his sister caused an ambiguous reaction among social media users, many of whom rushed to agree that the restrictions were damaging to food businesses, as restaurants were responsible only for the transmission of less-than-ten-percent of COVID infections, according to contact-tracing efforts.
But some netizens blamed Ivanka’s father’s “ignorance” and slow reaction to the coronavirus pandemic for the virus’ rapid spread and eventual lockdown restrictions.
Some of commentators also moved to ridicule Ivanka for making bold “science” statements despite not being a real expert on the issue.
The development comes as the US Congress is expected to vote on a bipartisan Covid-19 relief bill that could endow small businesses with additional $300 billion “desperately needed” support over pandemic-induced loses.