POUGHKEEPSIE – A group of protesters gathered in front of the Bardavon Opera House Saturday night to protest against COVID vaccination requirements. The Bardavon required that all attendees for a performance by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic on Saturday night show proof of vaccination in order to enter the historic theater. The full Bardavon COVID policy can be viewed here.
Protesters including Dr. Giovanni Mazzarelli, a Poughkeepsie chiropractor, gathered on Market Street as concertgoers were arriving for the show. Many of the protesters held signs that denounced the media, called the pandemic a hoax, and generally denounced the vaccine requirements. City of Poughkeepsie Police were sent to the area as protesters stood on Market Street and also assembled across the street in front of the Dutchess County Office Building.
Mazzarelli said that venues requiring proof of vaccination are practicing segregation. “Segregation and discrimination is not okay,” he said. He also expressed frustration in school districts that have set vaccination requirements. “I have three healthy kids that were kicked out of school when the religious exemptions were denied in 2019,” Mazzarelli told Mid-Hudson News. The Dutchess County resident said that he has elected not to be injected with the COVID vaccine.
Mazzarelli’s reference to the 2019 termination of religious exemptions refers to the state’s repeal of the exemption that allowed students to avoid vaccinations required for primary and secondary schools in the due to religious beliefs. The repeal was the result of a measles outbreak that swept across the country. The repeal gave school officials the right to prohibit unvaccinated students from entering the buildings. It covered all public, private, and charter schools. At the time, New York did not have a requirement for school-aged children to be vaccinated against the Coronavirus.
Mazzarelli argued that his children were expelled from their schools, but he was still required to pay school taxes.
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