Philadelphia’s Democrat Mayor Jim Kenney apologized after photos circulated showing him eating inside a Maryland restaurant without a mask, prompting criticism from those pointing out that indoor dining is forbidden in his city.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney enjoyed a meal indoors at a Maryland restaurant on Sunday and now he’s being skewered by one of Philly’s top chefs for that dining decision. More: https://t.co/CxKX6nBXPR pic.twitter.com/Fnxp87NT6L
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) August 31, 2020
After taking flak for the photos that went viral on social media, Kenney issued a statement Monday, saying, “I know some are upset that I dined indoors at a restaurant in Maryland yesterday. 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.”
“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,” he added.
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. https://t.co/Ki3lIZV8i4
— Jim #VaxUpPhilly Kenney (@PhillyMayor) August 31, 2020
Kenney’s office told a local CBS affiliate, “The mayor went to Maryland earlier today to patronize a restaurant owned by a friend of his. He looks forward to expanding indoor dining locally next week.” Indoor dining in Baltimore is capped at 25% capacity, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Other leaders in Pennsylvania have faced similar accusations of hypocrisy. As The Daily Wire recently reported, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine came to a confidential agreement with a car show near Harrisburg that allowed tens of thousands to gather outdoors over four days, despite the state’s lockdown orders:
According to legal documents obtained by local Pittsburgh outlet WPXI, Dr. Rachel Levine made a confidential settlement agreement with the Carlisle Car Show near Harrisburg that allowed 20,000 people to attend their four-day event in June. According to Pennsylvania’s color-coded reopening plan, outdoor gatherings are limited 250 people or less.
The apparent hypocrisy has shocked and dismayed some state lawmakers, who told WPXI the move was “outrageous,” “ridiculous,” and “not fair.” Republican state Rep. Aaron Bernstein, who represents counties in the western part of the state, described it as “despicable,” adding, “It’s not fair that eastern PA set up deals when we abide by rules.”
In early June, Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf marched in solidarity with hundreds of protesters in the state capital in the wake of George Floyd’s death, despite state lockdown orders limiting outdoor gatherings to 25 people at the time in Dauphin County.
Regarding why Wolf and other protesters were seemingly given a pass, Levine said, “The governor has always said that people have the right to protest and to demonstrate, and the right to free speech, and so overall, we want large gatherings such as maybe a party or some type of concert or something, to be under 250 people.”
“But, we are not restricting people’s right to protest,” Levine added. “There are all obviously significant social issues that are present, that people feel that they need to have a voice, and so the governor is always supportive of that and is participating.”
PA Health Sec. won’t allow the state to reopen or people to gather – and the Gov. who said businesses that disobey are cowards as he marches in protests himself – actually tries to legitimize limitless protests in the street while standing by restrictions. pic.twitter.com/4jKwJGBtpG
— Chris Stigall (@ChrisStigall) June 3, 2020