Dr. Anthony Fauci’s cousin, a restaurateur in New York, is bemoaning his famous relative’s continued talk of restrictions and lockdowns to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci, 79, is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and had a heavy influence on the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus early on. He’s also been one of the chief proponents of restrictive lockdown measures to slow the pandemic’s spread. His cousin, also named Anthony Fauci, is the 84-year-old founder of La Fontana restaurant in Staten Island.
“They shouldn’t do the lockdowns. Especially now. If you don’t abide by the rules … shut that area down, but don’t shut down the whole industry,” the Staten Island Fauci told the New York Post. His son, Joe Fauci, now runs his New York restaurant and shares his father’s opinion on continued restrictions and burdens placed on business.
“In the beginning, I thought [Dr. Fauci] was fabulous, but then a few times he flip-flopped on different things. He had us all locked down at a tremendous rate,” Joe told the Post. “They should have loosened things up when it was slowing down in the summer. Everything else was loosening up except the restaurant business.”
Both Anthonys are from Brooklyn, and the Staten Island Fauci recalls growing up with his cousin, who is now a leading expert in infectious diseases.
“My father and his father were first cousins. His grandfather and my grandfather were brothers,” the restaurateur told the Post. Joe Fauci added that despite his concerns about his and others’ businesses, he is “very proud” of Dr. Fauci.
The restaurant industry has been one of the worst sectors impacted by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent widespread shutdowns that began in March and in many states are still at least partially in effect. In September, the National Restaurant Association released a study of the immense impact the pandemic has had on restaurants.
As Today reported at the time:
According to a new survey released by the National Restaurant Association, a staggering 100,000 restaurants have closed on a permanent or long-term basis in the U.S. That’s nearly 1 in 6 restaurants shuttered and 3 million restaurant employees out of work. Restaurants are closing at an alarming rate, and without help, they fear it’s only going to get worse.
Dr. Fauci has continued to advocate somewhat extreme protective measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, such as canceling Thanksgiving plans with family.
“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci told CBS News.
“That is unfortunately a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting,” he said. “It is unfortunate, because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition — the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk.”