Kenney’s office confirmed his visit to CNN, saying that his friend owned the restaurant and that outdoor dining was not available.
“In this case, he felt that indoor eating was a small risk in this case, as there are a total of 782 COVID cases in the county he briefly visited, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia. Drastically different Circumstances. (And for what it’s worth, he also went to Rouge to dine outside in Philly later that day), “read the explanation.
Kenney brought up the photo on Twitter Monday, saying he thought the risk was minimal but he understands the frustration.
“Restaurant owners are hardest hit by the pandemic. I am sorry if my decision has hurt those who have worked to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances,”
Philadelphia restaurants are expected to reopen on September 8th, although occupancy is limited to 25% of normal capacity and visitors must be at least three feet apart.
Marc Vetri, a Philadelphia restaurateur, posted the mayor’s photo on social media and condemned his actions.
“I’m glad you are enjoying indoor dining in Maryland tonight with no social distancing or mask as restaurants here in Philly close, suffer, and fight for every nickel just to survive,” he wrote. “I think all of your press conferences and your narrative about unsafe indoor eating don’t apply to you. Thank you so much for sorting everything out for us tonight.”
In the photo, the guests of the Maryland restaurant seem to be less than two meters apart, as Kenney ordered for Philadelphia, emphasized a Twitter user.
Kenney’s office said he had “consistently foregone guidance from the health commissioner, who in this case was keen to wait until Sept. 8 to resume eating on site.”
“If elected officials at the federal level had postponed in the last five months similar to health experts, this might not even be a problem,” it says.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.