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Hasidic man refused service by Toyota dealership ‘because you’re spreading the virus’

A Hasidic man was refused service at a Toyota dealership in New York Monday after being accused of “spreading the virus.”

In several videos and voice notes shared on WhatsApp, the man described making an appointment at Johnstons Toyota, in New Hampton, N.Y., and then being asked to leave without having his car serviced, even as other customers brought their vehicles in.

In an exchange with an employee of the dealership, the man asked why he was being refused service.

“Because you’re spreading the virus,” the employee can be heard saying. “You gotta go.”

“Why am I spreading the virus more than other people?” the Hasidic man asks.

“I don’t know,” the employee says, before asking him again to leave.

In a voice recording shared on WhatsApp, the Hasidic man said that he had made an appointment earlier Monday only to have an employee tell him he could not get an appointment because “It’s only you spreading the virus.” The man then asked for the manager, who asked him to leave.

The dealership, in Orange County, is a 25-minute drive from Kiryas Joel, a large Hasidic village in the county.

The incident comes as Orthodox Jews have warned that Hasidic Jews are being demonized for not reacting quickly enough to social distancing rules, and are being unfairly targeted for being out of step with efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

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