Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has promised to “do better” after surveillance video showed her maskless inside a New York restaurant, running counter to the requirement that’s part of the state mandate to mask up indoors or show proof of vaccination.
“We all need to do our part to help stop the spread of Omicron and that means following state and local guidance,” Gillibrand told Fox News. “That includes me and I will do better going forward.”
Her apology came after the owner of Innovo Kitchen in Latham, New York, posted a video on Instagram showing Gillibrand walking into the restaurant not wearing a mask. The restaurant does not ask customers for proof of vaccination, opting instead for a masking policy, an option provided for in New York state’s vaccinate-or-mask mandate for businesses.
“The problem with NY politics in a nut shell. My Senator blowing past my manager before she can even ask her to put a mask on. Walking right past a really big sign that says ‘masks required to enter,'” the owner wrote.
“The masks are a mandate from the Governor. As good citizens, agree or not, we must follow our leaders. Her guest is graciously wearing one. I guess Senator Gillibrand thinks that the Governor is wrong or she is special and above the rules,” the post continued.
Gillibrand has been outspoken in her support for COVID-19 vaccines and other related public health measures.
Innovo Kitchen owner John La Posta told the New York Post that other members of the group Gillibrand was with when she strolled into the restaurant were wearing masks. La Posta added that Gillibrand’s actions would make it harder for his restaurant to enforce the mask requirement.
“People will say, ‘If Gillibrand is not wearing a mask, why should I wear a mask?’” he told the outlet.
New York state’s mask mandate, announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul in December, requires indoor masking in all businesses unless they have a proof-of-vaccination policy. Innovo Kitchen has chosen not to demand proof of vaccination, instead requiring customers to wear masks when not seated.
Over the course of the pandemic, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been called out for not adhering to restrictions.