New York Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t happy with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in New York. On Monday, he threatened to shut down indoor dining in New York City and reduce capacity to 25 percent for regions outside New York City to 25 percent if COVID-19 hospitalization rates don’t stabilize over the next five days.
NEW: If after 5 days a region's hospital rate has not stabilized, indoor dining will close or be reduced.
-In NYC, indoor dining would close entirely.
-In rest of the state, indoor dining would be reduced to 25% capacity.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 7, 2020
While Cuomo wants it to appear as though he’s taking the COVID-19 situation seriously, his proposed restrictions contain a loophole that enables Saturday Night Live! to continue production with a live, indoor audience.
Why is SNL so special that it can avoid lockdown restrictions, while restaurants can’t? Is SNL more “essential” than restaurants? I can’t believe that. SNL hasn’t been watchable since the early 1990s, and rarely accomplishes a laugh-out-loud skit. Major League Baseball didn’t even allow fans in attendance when social distancing could have been easily accomplished. So, how is it that SNL will be able to have an audience, in spite of these restrictions?
It’s because audience members are paid $150 from Universal Television (NBC’s parent company) for “participating” in the show, effectively making them employees who “work” for the production company, and thus exempt from the restrictions.
So, Cuomo, who fancies himself to be a national leader when it comes to COVID-19, is willing to destroy restaurants, but let Saturday Night Live avoid these restrictions with a loophole? Do people involved with Saturday Night Live have the same immunity to COVID-19 as Black Lives Matter protesters?
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis