Why Did the Staff at the Met Wear Masks, While the Celebrities Went Without?

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez walks past reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 13, 2021.
(Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

The photographs from last night’s event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City show a host of celebrities — including New York Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney — enjoying themselves without masks while the staff that are waiting on them are all masked up.

Why?

Guests at the event were obliged to be vaccinated. But so, per New York City rules, were the staff. The city’s website confirms that, “as of August 17, people 12 and older are required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO” if, inter alia, they work in:

Indoor entertainment

Includes movie theaters, music and concert venues, museums, aquariums and zoos, professional sports arenas, indoor stadiums, convention centers, exhibition halls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, pool and billiard halls, recreational game centers, adult entertainment and indoor play areas

This new requirement — called the Key to NYC — also means staff at these locations must be vaccinated.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a museum.

Why, then, did the staff have to wear masks while the celebrities did not? It can’t be because, unlike the celebrities, the staff were unvaccinated. And it can’t be because, even though everyone was vaccinated, there’s still a risk of transmission and infection, because that risk would apply equally to the celebrities as it would to the staff.

Is the science different for famous people, perhaps?

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The other option, I suppose, is that the Met made an exception and allowed unvaccinated staff to work at the event. But if so, the same question obtains: Why? If, as the president claims, unvaccinated people pose a risk to vaccinated people, then the Met chose to put its guests at risk — and those guests, by declining to mask up, went along with it.

Reporting on the gala this morning, Axios recorded that “AOC and Carolyn Maloney use Met Gala to send a political message.” They certainly did, Axios. They certainly did.

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