Left-wing Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is getting called out for hypocrisy after a photo emerged on social media showing him dining inside a Maryland restaurant over the weekend while eateries in his own city “suffer” from his ban on indoor dining.
What are the details?
Philadelphia restaurateur Marc Vetri — a critic of Kenny’s indoor-dining ban — ripped the mayor over the photo, WPVI-TV reported.
“Hi @phillymayor!!!” Vetri wrote on Instagram. “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.”
KYW-TV reported that Maryland restaurants have been open to indoor dining at 25% capacity since June.
How did Kenney respond?
Kenney issued an apology in a pair of Monday afternoon tweets, WPVI reported.
“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,” Kenney tweeted, according to the station. “Regardless, I understand the frustration.”
“I’m sorry if my decision hurt those who’ve worked to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances,” Kenny added, WPVI noted.
The mayor’s office defended his decision to dine indoors in Maryland — and blamed “elected officials at the federal level” for the coronavirus fallout, the station added:
The mayor went to Maryland earlier today to patronize a restaurant owned by a friend of his. For what it’s worth, he also went to Rouge to enjoy outdoor dining in Philly on the way home. He looks forward to expanding indoor dining locally next week.
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.
Indoor dining at Philadelphia restaurants is set to resume next Tuesday with restrictions, including a 25% capacity limit, WPVI said.
Kenney earlier this month staunchly stood by his decision to ban indoor dining until Sept. 8, the station said: “We need to follow what we are being asked to do by the health department. I beg you to follow the rules.”