Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was spotted over the weekend having a beer inside a restaurant just a day before he announced restrictions on indoor dining.
An image of Kenney has been making its rounds on the internet and is said to have been taken at a bar in Old City.
Philadelphia recorded 765 new cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 57,237. There were three new deaths reported for a total of 1,945 total deaths.
The mayor’s office confirmed to DailyMail.com on Thursday afternoon that Kenney ‘intentionally patronized several restaurants this weekend – as he usually does – to support local businesses and their wait staff’.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was spotted over the weekend having a beer inside a restaurant just a day before he announced restrictions on indoor dining. This image of Kenney has been making its rounds on the internet and is said to have been taken at a bar in Old City
The mayor’s office confirmed to DailyMail.com on Thursday afternoon that Kenney ‘intentionally patronized several restaurants this weekend – as he usually does – to support local businesses and their wait staff’
According to a spokeswoman, the image ‘was taken at one of his [Kenney] favorite eateries, which he wanted to support before the restrictions go into effect this Friday’.
‘As Mayor Kenney said during Monday’s press conference, no one (including him) wants to institute more restrictions; but he and Health Commissioner Dr Farley are making decisions based on what they believe is required to save lives.
‘The mayor did order food, therefore the image was captured before or after the food was served.
‘He will continue ordering takeout and dining outside while COVID restrictions are in effect, and encourages others to continue supporting our neighborhood small businesses in ways that comply with current restrictions and feel safe for them and their families,’ the statement reads.
On Monday, the city announced new restrictions which will go into effect on Friday.
Indoor dining at restaurants and bars will not be allowed, but customers can still order takeout and delivery.
Restaurants offering outdoor dining must reduce table sizes to four people and groups dining outdoors should be household members only.
All indoor gatherings and events involving people from more than one household are prohibited, in public or private spaces, which includes weddings and funerals.
Several people took to Facebook to comment under the image with some calling Kenney a ‘hypocrite’.
Kenney has previously faced criticism for dining at a restaurant during the pandemic.
Kenney has previously faced criticism for dining at a restaurant during the pandemic. This image of Kenney was taken in August at a restaurant in Maryland
It was in August when he apologized for enjoying a meal in Maryland while Philadelphia while there were more than 33,000 cases in Philadelphia at the time
It was in August when he apologized for enjoying a meal in Maryland while Philadelphia while there were more than 33,000 cases in Philadelphia at the time.
‘I know some are upset that I dined indoors at a restaurant in Maryland yesterday,’ Kenney tweeted after Instagrammer Marc Vetri posted an image of the mayor on social media.
‘I felt the risk was low because the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia. Regardless, I understand the frustration.’
The mayor continued: ‘Restaurant owners are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. I’m sorry if my decision hurt those who’ve worked to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances.
‘Looking forward to reopening indoor dining soon and visiting my favorite spots.’
Kenney isn’t the only high-ranking official who has come under fire for dining indoors.
Most recently, California Gov Gavin Newsom said this week that he made a ‘bad mistake’ by attending a friend’s birthday dinner during a spike in coronavirus cases and promised to ‘own it’ and move forward.
Newsom attended the dinner on November 6 at the French Laundry, one of the finest and most expensive restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area.
His administration didn’t acknowledge it until a week later when a reporter was tipped and asked about it.
Newsom apologized on Monday and described the dinner as outdoors.
But photos show Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, sitting maskless around a crowded table of 12 inside a room that was enclosed on three sides.
The fourth side was open, though the woman who took the photos and provided them to Fox 11 said a sliding glass door eventually was closed after Newsom´s group became loud. The woman was not identified by the station.
California Gov Gavin Newsom was criticized for attending a birthday dinner with at least 10 people at The French Laundry, a Michelin star restaurant in Napa Valley, on November 6. Newsom (left) is seen in the dining room in a photo obtained by Fox 11
California hit 1 million cases last week, forcing officials to implement new restrictions
Nathan Click, a spokesman for Newsom, did not answer about whether the room was closed off and why the governor maintained the dinner was outdoors.
The restaurant is in Napa County, which at the time of the dinner was allowed to offer limited indoor service. It now is among 41 counties that can only serve outdoors.
That incident was followed by another that involved eight California lawmakers who flew to Hawaii for a policy conference despite health officials warning against out-of-state travel.
At least seven assemblymembers and one state senator from districts around California are among the 75 people attending this week’s conference hosted by the Independent Voter Project (IVP) at the five-star Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Several of those legislators have now come out to defend their decision to ignore California’s travel warnings – arguing that their attending the conference was important because it includes discussions about pandemic policies.
The IVP conference began on Monday – the same day that Newsom announced 41 of California’s 58 counties would be moving into the state’s most restrictive purple COVID-19 reopening risk tier, up from 13 counties last week.
Newsom had urged residents not to travel out of state just three days earlier, and imposed a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the state.
IVP has declined to disclose which California legislators are attending the conference but eight names emerged anyway – with some identifying themselves and others staying silent.
The eight are: Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R – O’Neals), State Senator Andreas Borgeas (R – Modesto), Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D – Los Angeles), Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R – Pasa Robles), Assemblyman Heath Flora (R – Ripon), Assemblyman Chad Mayes (I – Rancho Mirage), Assemblyman Jose Medina (D – Riverside) and Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D – Baldwin Park).
IVP President Dan Howle responded to the backlash about this year’s conference going forward amid the pandemic in an interview with the LA Times on Wednesday and insisted that strict safety precautions had been put in place.
He said all of the 75 attendees – which reportedly included about a dozen lawmakers from Washington and Texas – were required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test before participating and that the California lawmakers are ‘committed to honoring’ the state’s 14-day quarantine when they return home.
Howle also said there were strict rules for masks and social distancing at all meetings and events, noting that Maui County approved the plans.