News and Commentary

Cuomo Lockdown Czar Concedes Live On-Air He Broke COVID Rules

"I have accepted full responsibility - and therefore will accept any/all consequences."
New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo (L) and Lieutenant Governor-elect Robert Duffy celebrate at the Sheraton New York on election night, November 2, 2010 in New York City.
Michael Nagle/Getty Images

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President CEO Robert Duffy admitted live on-air Friday that an event he helped assist with and attended was in violation of COVID-related lockdown rules.

Mr. Duffy was tapped by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo back in April to oversee the lockdown and reopening efforts for the Finger Lakes region of New York state.

I counted more than 75 people at a ribbon-cutting in [Rochester] today, including Mayor, County Exec, Congressman, NYS Senator, Assemblyman, the head of #FLX control room and top state official,” reported News10NBC’s Jennifer Lewke, on Friday. “[Governor Andrew Cuomo] rules say no more than 50 at mass gathering so what gives?”

Lewke pressed Duffy while he was at the event: “Bob, I know you sorta joked about it at the podium but I counted at least 75 people at this event, is that really a responsible thing considering there are limitations?” she asked.

“No I was not kidding, we are right from the start I think people came in, it’s as an exciting time,” Duffy responded. “We’re pretty strict on 50 people, I didn’t do any head counts but I did make a comment up there because we have to abide by the rules and we have to lead by example with the rules and so I didn’t do a headcount but I think a whole lot more people wanted to come.”

“I didn’t realize they were that much over but we have to make sure it doesn’t happen,” he added.


The following day, Duffy said via Twitter that he takes “responsibility” for the rule-breaking and promised it won’t happen again.

“I appreciate [Jennifer Lewke] raising the crowd size issue yesterday at the [Zweigle’s Hots] event. She was right- we were wrong. No excuses,” he wrote. “It shouldn’t have occurred. Our [Rochester Chamber] assisted [Zweigle’s Hot] – so I take responsibility/it won’t happen again.”

Duffy told The Daily Wire it would be up to New York state to enact a fine for the rule-breaking, adding that he has taken “full responsibly” and would pay a fine if it were handed down. Notably, Duffy said the fine would be paid out of private funds from the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

“The event ended up having 25 people over the limit of 50,” he told The Daily Wire. “There is no excuse for that. The rules apply to everyone. Our Chamber assisted Zweigle’s with their event – and I have accepted full responsibility – and therefore will accept any/all consequences.”

“Any fines would be paid for by our own private funds,” he added.

News10NBC sent pictures of the gathering to Gov. Cuomo’s office but has yet to receive a response.

New York state has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs over COVID-related restrictions and is experiencing the second slowest recovery of all 50 states.

“Six months after the start of the nationwide pandemic, the entire state remains more than 1 million jobs shy of its pre-virus total, showing the most anemic post-COVID outbreak employment growth in the 48 contiguous states,” reports. “Most of those losses have been in the New York City metro region — which had produced most of the state’s growth in recent years.”

“New York’s August private-sector job count of 7.24 million is the lowest on record since August 2012, as the state and the balance of the nation was recovering from the Great Recession in 2008, state records show,” the report adds.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Cuomo Lockdown Czar Concedes Live On-Air He Broke COVID Rules