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Conservatives Christians of Southwest Florida boycott Artis-Naples

Posted at 7:35 PM, Nov 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 12:19:51-05

NAPLES, Fla. — The Conservative Christians of Southwest Florida are boycotting a performing arts center in Naples.

If you want to get into Artis-Naples, you will need to be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID test.

Artis-Naples recently implemented this protocol. They said it is to "ensure the safety and well-being of everyone." Still, Ariel Martinez, the vice president of the Conservative Christians of Southwest Florida, said it's not about that.

“It’s really not about safety. It’s about control," he said. “To me, safety means we as individuals have the right to do whatever we want to protect us.”

He said people should be able to decide on how to protect themselves.

“You want to have the vaccine; you go for it. We are all for personal freedom. It’s the being mandated upon," Martinez said.

He said this is what led his group, Conservative Christians of Southwest Florida, to boycott Artis-Naples.

“It is their right indeed to do so. I am 100 percent on board for them doing what their business is as they please, but it is our right as an organization to open the eyes of people and let them know," he said.

The group urged folks to leverage their wallets and refrain from spending money with businesses with such a mandate.

Artis-Naples said the policy is simply to protect others.

In a statement, the CEO and President of Artis-Naples said:

“Our commitment to the collective health and safety of our patrons, visitors, musicians, guest artists, staff and volunteers is paramount. The decision to update our protocols was not taken lightly. It is our sincere hope that the new protocols will encourage increased participation and safety in all of our activities. We are pleased to join many of Florida's largest arts organizations who have implemented these protocols over the last month. They include the Arsht Center, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Norton Museum of Art, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and Straz Center for the Performing Arts.”

Artis—Naples CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen

For Martinez, his group won't attend any events by Artis-Naples with the protocol.

The Southwest Florida group is organizing a protest outside of Artis-Naples. The demonstration will be next Friday at 7 p.m.