““We encourage any New Yorker who came into contact with Sarah Palin to get tested, just as we encourage all New Yorkers to get tested regularly, especially those who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19.””
That was Jonah Allon, the spokesman for New York City Mayor Eric Adams, giving a statement on Thursday after Sarah Palin was seen dining outdoors at Elio’s restaurant on the upper East Side after testing positive for COVID-19.
The former Republican governor of Alaska was photographed sitting outside of the Italian eatery on Wednesday, just two days after her defamation trial against the New York Times was postponed due to Palin testing positive for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 on Monday.
This is the second time that Palin, who has said “it will be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot” against COVID-19, has contracted COVID-19.
“She is, of course, unvaccinated,” said U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff while announcing that Palin’s defamation trial was postponed on Monday.
Read more: Sarah Palin’s positive COVID test delays trial in defamation case against the New York Times. Says judge: ‘She is, of course, unvaccinated.’
Palin’s NYC outing went viral on Thursday because she was flouting federal quarantine guidelines by dining in public while positive for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that even asymptomatic people who test positive for COVID should quarantine for five days, and then they should only return to public settings after testing negative.
Palin was also spotted going into Italian restaurant Campagnola, which is also on the upper East Side, on Tuesday night, the New York Daily News reported. She was seen entering and exiting both restaurants without wearing a mask.
NYC restaurants are required to check for proof of vaccination before letting people dine indoors, although it should be noted that Palin was seated in an enclosed space outside at Elio’s on Wednesday. She did also dine indoors at Elio’s last weekend, however. The restaurant said she later returned to apologize for the media uproar her visits caused.
Restaurants that violate NYC COVID rules can be fined $1,000 for a first violation, the New York Daily news noted. And the fines rise to $2,000 for a second violation and $5,000 for third and subsequent violations.
But a staffer at the Italian eatery was dismissive of the incident when reached by the New York Post this week. “S— happens! People come to eat, we are not the border police,” a worker said.
Read more: Sarah Palin spotted dining outdoors after COVID-19 admission
Still, the NYC mayor’s office criticized Palin’s failure to follow quarantine guidelines.
“By repeatedly flouting CDC guidelines, Ms. Palin has shown a complete disregard for the health and safety of small business workers and her fellow patrons,” Allon said.
“The city offers multiple resources to support isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19, and we encourage Ms. Palin to join the 98% of New Yorkers who report they have followed guidance on isolation and have helped New York City stop the spread.”
NYC’s City Hall also said that city inspectors had reached out to Elio’s on Thursday to remind the establishment of the city’s COVID-19 rules for restaurants and other businesses.
The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has climbed above 366.9 million, and the death toll is now more than 5.63 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with 73.4 million cases and 878,472 fatalities. Currently, most hospitalizations and deaths stemming from the highly-contagious omicron variant are in unvaccinated people.
There’s some hopeful news, however. The world reached a COVID-19 vaccination milestone on Friday of 10 billion doses administered globally, according to Our World in Data. But sadly, less than 10% of people in low-income countries have had a first shot, which could allow new variants to emerge that could prove resistant to vaccines. Read more in today’s coronavirus update.