A photo of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) dining inside a Maryland restaurant drew criticism Sunday as his city’s restaurants and bars remained closed to indoor customers.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the mayor said he went there to patronize the restaurant owned by a friend, adding that “he looks forward to expanding indoor dining locally next week,” according to CBS Philly.
Philadelphia restaurateur Marc Vetri shared the photo of Kenney on his Instagram account:
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Hi @phillymayor !!! Glad you’re enjoying indoor dining with no social distancing or mask wearing in Maryland tonight while restaurants here in Philly close, suffer and fight for every nickel just to survive. I guess all your press briefings and your narrative of unsafe indoor dining don’t apply to you. Thank you for clearing it all up for us tonight. 🙏
“Hi @phillymayor !!! Glad you’re enjoying indoor dining with no social distancing or mask wearing in Maryland tonight while restaurants here in Philly close, suffer and fight for every nickel just to survive,” Vetri wrote.
“I guess all your press briefings and your narrative of unsafe indoor dining don’t apply to you. Thank you for clearing it all up for us tonight,” he concluded.
Several of Vetri’s followers also expressed their disapproval of the mayor’s actions.
“He is a joke, but more then [sic] that he is the byproduct of a one party city. He’s the one laughing. Just keep voting blindly and things will surely get better,” one person commented.
However, the statement from the mayor’s office defended him, stating, “For what it’s worth, he also went to Rouge to enjoy outdoor dining in Philly on the way home”:
Throughout the pandemic the Mayor has consistently deferred to the guidance of the Health Commissioner, who in this case felt strongly about waiting until Sept. 8 to resume indoor dining. If elected officials at the federal level had similarly deferred to health experts over the past five months, this might not even be an issue by now.
Of course we understand the frustrations of local restaurant owners who have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. But there are 782 total cases in the county the mayor briefly visited, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia. Drastically different circumstances.
In a tweet Thursday, Kenney said indoor dining and theaters could reopen September 8 with restrictions, but nightclubs, conferences, conventions, and senior centers would remain closed.
“Indoor gatherings are still capped at 25 people, outdoor at 50 people,” he wrote.
However, one of Vetri’s followers questioned the mayor’s motives.
“If he feels safe dining indoors you have to wonder the reason he’s telling the rest of you it’s not?” the person commented.