CNBC hosts argue over coronavirus business restrictions


CNBC hosts Rick Santelli and Andrew Sorkin got into a heated argument on Friday over the effectiveness of coronavirus restrictions shutting down small businesses.

The two debated the rationale behind allowing big-box retailers to remain open as coronavirus cases continue to rise. Santelli argued there was no safety difference between hundreds of shoppers visiting a large store such as Lowe's hardware and hundreds at a restaurant. Sorkin disagreed.

“Rick, just as a public health and public service announcement for the audience, the difference between a big-box retailer,” said Sorkin, before Santelli interrupted to ask who was speaking. “Hold on, the difference between a big-box retailer and a restaurant, or frankly, even a church, are so different it's unbelievable.”

“I disagree. I disagree. I disagree! You can have your thoughts, and I can have mine. I disagree,” Sorkin said, adding that his opinion was a matter of “science,” prompting Santelli to fire back.

“It’s not science,” Santelli said. “Five hundred people in a Lowe's aren’t any safer than 150 people in a restaurant that holds 600. I don’t believe it! Sorry. Don’t believe it. And I live in an area where there are a lot of restaurants that have fought back, and they don’t have any problems, and they’re open.”

Sorkin accused Santelli of doing a “disservice” to viewers by disagreeing with his rationale.

“You’re doing a disservice to the viewers. You are. You are,” Santelli said.

“I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I would like to keep our viewers as healthy as humanly possible. The idea of packing people into restaurants and packing people into a Best Buy are completely different things,” Sorkin said.

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