Server Fired for Filming Video of Maskless Nebraska Governor

November 20, 2020 Updated: November 20, 2020

A server in Nebraska was terminated after filming video of Gov. Pete Ricketts inside a restaurant while not wearing a mask.

Karina Montanez, 25, filmed the video on Nov. 3 at DJ’s Dugout in Bellevue.

“I was bothered by his actions as someone who has medical conditions myself and go to work on the daily risking of getting infected. Then here comes our governor who has NOT been wanting to put a state mask mandate, come in and mingle and take pictures as if he were a celebrity. It simply rubbed me the wrong way,” Montanez told The Epoch Times via Twitter direct message.

Employees at the establishment are required to wear masks but customers are not.

DJ’s didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In a statement, CEO Sunni Renner confirmed the firing.

“DJ’s Dugout terminated one of its employee’s after learning that the employee recently posted a video to social media, which was taken while that employee was actively on duty for DJ’s Dugout and constitutes a violation of DJ’s Dugout’s written social media and cell phone policies provided in DJ’s Dugout’s Employee Handbook,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
In these still images from video, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is seen without a mask while speaking to others inside a restaurant on Nov. 3, 2020. (Courtesy of Karina Montanez)

“Although the social media post is believed to be political in nature, DJ’s Dugout respects each of its employee’s political affiliations, beliefs, and activities permitted under law; however, these political affiliations, beliefs, and activities do not represent those of DJ’s Dugout,” he added.

Ricketts has encouraged Nebraskans to wear masks but has not imposed a mandate to wear them. He told reporters recently that he feels a mask requirement would harm businesses.

Ricketts’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

“The Governor was wearing a mask when entered and exited the establishment. The Governor removes his mask temporarily for pictures and did so that evening. The Governor also removed his mask when sitting down at the establishment. The state does not require people to wear masks when seated in bars or restaurants,” a spokesman told KPTM.

Asked about the picture during a briefing this week, Ricketts said: “Generally, you’re going to be in close contact when you are within somebody six feet for 15 minutes or more. So oftentimes when I’m taking a picture, depending on the preference of the person taking the picture, I’ll remove my mask while we take a picture and put it back on again when we’re done.”

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