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On election night, Manassas Republicans gathered at the Old Towne Sports Pub , with few wearing masks and little room for social distancing.

At this week's Manassas City Council meeting, City Manager Patrick Pate gave a sober update on the new surge in COVID-19 cases across Northern Virginia.

“It is unfortunately, going in the wrong direction,” Pate said, as he encouraged residents to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid gathering in large groups. “Those kinds of things are what [experts] encourage everyone to do.”

But less than a week before Pate’s message to the council, which did not differ much from what he’s told the governing body before, two very different kinds of election-night parties were held, and Democrats and Republicans are pointing fingers at each other over how they were handled.

On election night, city Republicans – including all but one of the party’s local candidates, as well as outgoing Mayor Hal Parrish – packed into a room at the Old Towne Sports Pub. As observed by an InsideNoVa reporter, few of the dozens of people in attendance wore masks, and no social distancing occurred. No outdoor space was allocated for the party.

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On election night, Manassas Republicans gathered at the Old Towne Sports Pub , with few wearing masks and little room for social distancing.

Democrats, on the other hand, took their party outside the city limits into Prince William County. “The Great Hall” at 2 Silos Brewing Company, they claimed, could provide adequate space for a gathering. Masks were almost universally worn, with revelers temporarily removing the coverings to sip their drinks but then putting them back on. Tables were spaced out, and many people also gathered at a distance in the brewery’s outdoor area, still wearing masks.

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Manassas Democrats celebrated at 2 Silos Brewing Co. (bottom photo), just outside the city limits.

The party there really got going when the Virginia Department of Elections website updated showing that all of the city’s precincts were reporting, with Democratic Councilmember Michelle Davis-Younger besting Republican Councilmember Theresa Coates Ellis for mayor, and Democrats winning all three of the council seats up for grabs.

Before her win was announced, Davis-Younger criticized the Republicans for setting a bad example and acting irresponsibly. Manassas has consistently outpaced most of the region in terms of cases per capita and has long been considered a “hot spot” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When she first found out she had won, an emotional Davis-Younger briefly took her mask off and embraced her husband before quickly putting her mask back on.

“That’s going to be a super-spreader event,” Davis-Younger told InsideNoVa about the Republican party. “No, it’s not responsible. That’s why I did it here, and they raked us over the coals for having it here in the county and not supporting Manassas business. And I said, ‘Hold up, we’re doing it there because we can space apart and be safe.’ People can be outside, we’re not trying to create a super-spreader event.”

One week later, Republicans say no outbreaks have been associated with their event.

On election night, Parrish, who is retiring after three terms as mayor, described the proceedings as “bittersweet.” When asked whether he thought the way the party was safe, he replied, “I hope so.”

“I think everybody has to deal with it the way they feel like they should,” Parrish said. “...You tell me. Is it OK to sit at a restaurant and not have your mask on? … I don’t know.”

Parrish, 69, said in general he’s tried to be cautious about the virus, and noted that he’s of the age where he should be concerned.

Amira Roess, a professor of global health and epidemiology at George Mason University and part of a team working on testing initiatives at the university, said she doesn’t think crowding indoors is safe.

“Eating indoors at restaurants is linked to cases and outbreaks because when people are eating they are releasing aerosols that may carry infectious virus that can then infect others,” Roess said. “[Personally], I prefer to avoid that risk and so I will eat outdoors rather than in a restaurant.”

After the election’s dust settled, Republican Councilmember Ian Lovejoy, who narrowly lost his bid for a third term on the council, said Democrats were just trying to deflect from criticism that they had patronized a business in the county rather than the city.

“I think that they’re trying to cover their behinds because they chose to have their event outside the city, and they’re getting a lot of flak …,” Lovejoy said. “They chose to spend thousands of dollars outside of the local economy that they’ve been elected to lead and instead of admitting they made a mistake, they want to reflect on the nature of the party that we had… People are allowed to make their own choices and how they operate and that’s OK.”

Vice Mayor Pam Sebesky, who was re-elected to council, just said that wearing masks should not be political.

“I can only speak for myself in saying that, as you saw, people were wearing masks. It was important to me as a healthcare provider that wearing marks and the coronavirus is not political. It’s a healthcare crisis,” Sebesky said. “It is extremely important that people recognize that when they choose not to wear a mask, they are putting everyone around them in danger… Unfortunately it seems to have been made more of a political issue.”

Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

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Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

(33) comments

Soily

It's only natural that Manassas Democrats would celebrate outside the city, most of their donations came from outside the city too.

Tom Fitzpatrick

Boom! I truly hope that the truth truly hurts.

StaffordLiving

Here is the difference between democrats and republicans:

Democrats- This is what you are supposed to do and I am going to tell you exactly how to do it.

Republicans- Live your life and don't infringe upon others.

Allen Muchnick

Transmitting a highly contagious and potentially deadly respiratory virus is the epitome of infringing on others.

Freedom is never absolute because unrestricted freedom degrades the freedom of others.

Requiring face coverings at indoor public gatherings is no more harmful to personal freedoms than banning loud noises in the middle of the night.

PWC resident since '69

Like during a city burn down love fest aka riot, or is it just law abiders who should obey laws?

Iwouldntgiveabean

So, like the president who has broken numerous laws, fails to uphold his oath of office, caught COVID, and became a super-spreader? Like that?

Iwouldntgiveabean

"Republicans- Live your life and don't infringe upon others."

Except if you are LGBTQ, we don't want to think about that.

Except if you are a minority, you should do as you are told.

Except if you are a woman, your role should be at the home and in good breeding capacity.

Except if you aren't Christian, your beliefs are antithetical to mine.

Republicans are all about suppression and making forcing people to live THEIR vision of what Americans should live like.

PWC resident since '69

Please stay on the Demcrat plantation! You have been trained well and express the intolerance of a true hater of free speech and expression. Your views are so narrow they are laughable, and most of your posts come off as sounding like those penned by an impotent, pompous a hole or more likely Jeffrey Toobin wannabe

Joe Christmas

Ah, victim politics. This is all the Democrat party is nowadays. Make everyone believe one half the country is the victim of the other - victim of relentless aggression and violence from white no-so-smart males. No one actually sees any of this agression - besides an iphone video every year or so - but believe the Democrats when they say it's there, everywhere, everyday, out there and vote accordingly!!!

citizen1

Yes clearly it’s the small group gathered at a bar and not the large celebrations of thousands of Democrats that took place on Friday and Saturday. How many people on the staff of this paper only report with blind eyes?

Antonio Marisol

It’s clear that Jared Foretek is already a Democrat hack. But InsideNova wouldn’t hired anything else.

PWC resident since '69

So true, and notice there is no comments allowed on the illegal immigrant child rapist article!

covid2021

Don't you know wearing a mask totally protects you and covers you from all criticism even if you are in a group of thousands standing shoulder to shoulder and dancing with each other! Just wear a mask, come on man!

swandive

“It is extremely important that people recognize that when they choose not to wear a mask, they are putting everyone around them in danger… Unfortunately it seems to have been made more of a political issue.” - Well said.

SuperNova

It’s only right all these TRUMPS celebrate in the smallest bar they can find with 0 masks.... at least leave the kids at home come on

PWC resident since '69

No Burning No Looting No Mayhem remember that when the SCOTUS’ interpretation of the 12th Amendment ends up deciding the Presidency!

Iwouldntgiveabean

Too bad that SCOTUS already ruled on that scenario on July 6th 2020 y'all are dreaming about:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/19-465_i425.pdf

Long story short: The electors have to follow the popular vote.

A state may constitutionally enforce a presidential elector’s pledge to support his party’s nominee—and the state voters’ choice—for President. Justice Elena Kagan authored the majority opinion that was unanimous in the judgment.

Article II, §1 gives the States the authority to appoint electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,” which the Court has interpreted as conveying to the states “the broadest power of determination” over who becomes an elector. The Twelfth Amendment, which also addresses the Electoral College, only sets out the electors’ voting procedures. Thus, the appointment power of the states is extensive, and nothing in the Constitution prohibits states from taking away the discretion of presidential electors’ discretion, as Washington does. The history of voting in this country supports the conclusion that electors do not have the discretion to vote however they like; indeed “long settled and established practice” of voting in this nation requires finding that electors are required to vote for the candidate whom the state’s voters have chosen.

Justice Clarence Thomas authored an opinion concurring in the judgment, but for a different reason. Justice Thomas disagreed with the Court that Article II determines the outcome in this case; he would resolve this case by simply recognizing the principle enshrined in the Tenth Amendment that “[a]ll powers that the Constitution neither delegates to the Federal Government nor prohibits to the States are controlled by the people of each State.” Justice Neil Gorsuch joined as to the discussion of the Tenth Amendment.

So no burning or looting or mayhem goes for everyone, right?

Halyork

This has to be one of the most disgusting propaganda articles written and published by InsideNova. These people are part of a cult that use a face diaper as their call sign. While Jared the propagandist likes to take unsubstantiated cheap shots at people, let's examine Jared's life. Jared apparently has a problem with alcohol, and overall a problem complying with basic laws. Its bewildering how a punk like this was hired by InsideNova or their parent corporation? Do they do background checks? With a sheet like this he would be hard pressed to pass a basic background check for employment at McDonalds.Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT13002187-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED

Offense Date: 03/12/2013

Hearing: 07/24/2013

Charge: FAIL TO HAVE VEHICLE INSPECTED

Code Section: A.46.2-1158

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT13002188-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED

Offense Date: 03/12/2013

Hearing: 07/24/2013

Charge: NO DRIVERS LICENSE

Code Section: 46.2-300

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GC10002599-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED

Offense Date: 11/19/2010

Hearing: 12/12/2011

Charge: PUBLIC SWEARING/INTOXICATION

Code Section: 18.2-388

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GC10002600-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED

Offense Date: 11/19/2010

Hearing: 12/12/2011

Charge: PURCHASE/POSSESS ALCOHOL

Code Section: 4.1-305

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT14005055-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 05/31/2014

Hearing: 11/18/2014

Amended Charge: OPER SUSP/REVOKE

Amended Code Section: 18.2-272

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT14005056-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 05/31/2014

Hearing: 11/18/2014

Charge: EXPIRED REGISTRATION

Code Section: 46.2-646

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT13004156-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 05/14/2013

Hearing: 08/20/2013

Amended Charge: REV LIC CONTINGENT ON FIN RESP

Amended Code Section: 46.2-302

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT13004156-01

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 05/14/2013

Hearing: 05/22/2015

Charge: COMM SHOW CAUSE

Code Section: 19.2-306

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT13004157-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 05/14/2013

Hearing: 08/20/2013

Charge: FAIL TO CARRY/EXHIBIT REG CARD

Code Section: B.46.2-104

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GC13000705-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 04/06/2013

Hearing: 09/03/2013

Charge: DWI; 1ST

Code Section: A.18.2-266

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GC13000705-01

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 04/06/2013

Hearing: 01/14/2014

Charge: ASAP SHOW CAUSE

Code Section: 18.2-271.1

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GC13000705-02

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 04/06/2013

Hearing: 05/22/2015

Charge: COMM SHOW CAUSE

Code Section: 19.2-306

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GC13000706-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 04/06/2013

Hearing: 09/03/2013

Charge: CIVIL VIOLATION - REFUSED BLOOD/BREATH TEST

Code Section: 18.2-268.3

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT13003095-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 04/06/2013

Hearing: 09/03/2013

Charge: DRIVE SUSPENDED

Code Section: B.46.2-301

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT13002778-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 03/28/2013

Hearing: 07/24/2013

Charge: FAIL TO HAVE VEHICLE INSPECTED

Code Section: A.46.2-1158

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT13002779-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 03/28/2013

Hearing: 07/24/2013

Charge: NO DRIVERS LICENSE

Code Section: 46.2-300

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT13001899-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 10/23/2012

Hearing: 03/18/2013

Charge: ILLEGAL PARKING #118985

Code Section: 11-1

Fairfax County General District Court

Case #: GT11255181-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 11/27/2011

Hearing: 02/06/2012

Charge: IMPROPER SIGNAL

Code Section: 46.2-849

Williamsburg/James City County General District Court

Case #: GT11007672-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED G

Offense Date: 08/30/2011

Hearing: 09/28/2011

Charge: 52/25 SP

Code Section: C.46.2-874

Williamsburg/James City County Circuit Court

Case #: CR14024155-00

Defendant: FORETEK, JARED GREEN MEADOWS

Offense Date: 05/31/2014

Hearing: 05/15/2015

Charge: OPER SUSP/REVOKE

SuperNova

You’re a real scumbag huh . What is your name? I bet your job doesn’t know you’re a POS but I would love to tell them.

Toby Beaman

Hey "heroes" - please shut your pie hole and stop gather-shaming people who choose to decide how they are going to live their life. This was a perfectly peaceful gathering - and no one was forced to be there. Everyone who gathered there did so on their own free will. So please just stop already. It's getting really old.

SuperNova

Pretty sure the kids were forced...unless they voted for trump too

Iwouldntgiveabean

Hey buddy, look up what exponential growth is.

And those people "living their life"? I feel sorry for them. I pity them. And I will give all the thoughts and prayers when they or someone they love catches the virus. And I wont be surprised or feel sadness one bit.

Citizen52

The tent party still showed many people standing close to each other and there are people not drinking who have their masks below their nose/mouth or just their nose. That is just like not wearing a mask.

SuperNova

Whoever just posted this guys criminal record please post your full name so we can put yours on there too. Probably has a hate crime on it or child abuse.

Stoptheinsanity

[ninja][batman][pirate]

Areaman

But Democracy dies in darkness.

Tom Fitzpatrick

Really? "Peaceful Protests" are irresponsible. And, criminal.

Zediculous

What a bunch of sniveling babies ... democrats just whine about anything they don't like ...

Allen Muchnick

NOTHING compares to sore loser Donald J Trump refusing to concede to Joe Biden and spreading lies about widespread "election fraud".

BeetleBailey

Allen, what were your thoughts when it took Al Gore 37 days to concede the 2000 election?

Allen Muchnick

The 2000 Gore-Bush election was not comparable, since its outcome depended on about 500 votes in ONE state with many dubious "double votes" and "hanging chads" on millions of punch-card ballots.

Furthermore, as soon as the U.S, Supreme Court ruled in favor of George W. Bush in a 5-4 partisan decision, Al Gore graciously conceded immediately.

Allen Muchnick

Al Gore also won the popular vote for president in 2000, by receiving 547,398 more votes than George W Bush nationwide.

larryclyons

Interesting. I wonder how many of those Republicans at that party will come down with COVID-19 in the next few months compared to the Democrats.

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