Why weren't the elite wearing masks at the Met Gala?

A follow-up to Ed’s post earlier about the orgy of elite vanity at last night’s Met Gala, featuring a cameo from woman-of-the-people Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “If you spent your whole life trying,” tweeted Batya Ungar-Sargon about AOC’s outfit, “you couldn’t come up with a better illustration of woke progressivism as smokescreen for class that perpetuates inequality than the progressive avatar at the pinnacle of conspicuous consumption being feted with a cheeky slogan across her back.”

The best part? The rich who pay $30,000 per ticket to get in and hobnob with celebrities in front of the paparazzi get to claim the expense as a deduction because the money goes to funding the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a nonprofit. AOC wore a “Tax The Rich” dress to an event which the rich use as a tax shelter, per Megan McArdle.

But there’s a more pressing critique of gala attendees than the hollowness of their commitment to redistribution.

Where were the masks?

New York City requires proof of vaccination to access indoor public spaces, including museums. That reduced the risk of transmission last night. But unfortunately, in the age of Delta when even the vaccinated can transmit the virus, it didn’t eliminate it. Because the vaxxed are capable of infecting others, the New York City Department of Health requires masks in indoor public spaces where the owner of the premises also requires them and strongly recommends them even when the owner doesn’t:

Does the Met require visitors to wear masks? Per Jeryl Bier, it does:

So why was no one wearing one?

Well, almost no one:

Actually, there was a group of people at the event who were scrupulously masked. Can you guess?

How can it be, scientifically, that the aristocrats were safe to unmask while the servants weren’t? Charles Cooke wonders, bearing in mind that NYC’s vaccine passport policy should have meant that all staff on the premises were vaccinated too:

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?

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.

Are the photos of maskless celebs possibly just an artifact of the red-carpet entrance? Supposedly the dress code for the evening *did* require masks — indoors. But the red carpet happens outdoors and even the CDC doesn’t currently require the vaccinated to mask up outdoors. Look again at the last tweet above and you can see that Carolyn Maloney is inside some sort of tent that’s open to the outdoors on her way into the building. Whether that any semi-enclosed space should count as “indoors” for purposes of mask-wearing is debatable. But the important question is whether celebs were wearing masks once inside. Were they?

At least some were:

Maybe the staff were masked in the tent because their duties required them to go inside and outside the building frequently and chose to mask up as a rule rather than have to keep taking it off and putting it back on.

Someone who was inside at the event needs to report on how prevalent mask-wearing was away from the cameras. Were the celebs complying with the dress code or were they doing the Muriel Bowser dodge in which they unmask and pretend that they’re eating to justify it?

I’ll leave you with Whoopi Goldberg, who attended the gala, sparring with Hot Air alum Mary Katharine Ham on “The View” this morning. Yes, said Whoopi, it was an indoor/outdoor thing. “Outside, we did not wear masks. When we went into that dinner, you had to wear the mask… They asked for everything but my mother’s DNA. They weren’t playing.”

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