PHILADELPHIA - A photo of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney dining indoors in another state has the city talking.
The photo, which surfaced over the weekend shows the mayor eating inside a restaurant in Maryland.
Indoor dining has not yet resumed in Philadelphia but is permitted at 25 percent capacity in Baltimore.
A spokesperson for the mayor released the following statement amid criticism of the mayor's indoor dining.
"The mayor went to Maryland earlier 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."
Monday afternoon, the mayor took to Twitter to continue responding to criticism.
"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," Kenney wrote. "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."
Philadelphia restaurateur Marc Vetri was among those who criticized the photo of the mayor.
"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," Vetri wrote on Instagram.
Last week, Philadelphia officials announced that indoor dining would be allowed to resume at 25 percent capacity starting September 8.
The city has extended several health guidelines that restaurants must follow in order to keep diners safe, including restrictions on party size, a mask mandate for guests and employees, and sanitization measures.
The city is permitting a maximum of four people to be seated together at an indoor table. Parties larger than four people will be seated at a separate table spaced six feet apart. Outdoor party sizes will remain at six people per table.
While all of Pennsylvania's 67 counties have been in the least restrictive phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan since June, Philadelphia has made modifications to accommodate for its dense population. Outdoor dining returned in June, but restrictions on indoor dining have been in place since the onset of the pandemic.
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