Sarah Palin dined at New York restaurant days before testing positive | Sarah Pallin
The manager of an exclusive New York restaurant has insisted he is focusing on the safety of his customers, after former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin dined there although she has not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
New York City laws require proof of vaccination for indoor dining.
The city government said Palin should “follow the rules like everyone else.”
Palin tested positive multiple times on Monday, delaying the start of her libel suit against The New York Times in federal court in Manhattan.
Palin, who also tested positive in March last year, said she would not be vaccinated.
In December, she told a conservative audience in Phoenix, “It will be on my dead body that I will have to get vaccinated. I will not do that. I won’t, and they better not touch my kids either.
In a statement, Luca Guaitolini, manager of Elio’s, the Upper East Side restaurant, responded to news that Palin was seen eating there on Saturday.
“We take this isolated incident – and this unfortunate oversight – very seriously,” Guaitolini said. “Elio’s is committed to and believes in the mandate of the vaccine, and all it does to protect our staff, regulars and the dining public.”
Guaitolini said he was not working on Saturday. He told The Times that the first diners were screened, but Palin dined with an unidentified “regular”.
“She probably just walked in and walked” up to the table, Guaitolini said. “We try to get to the bottom of it.”
In his statement, he said: “My current focus is on the safety of my staff who worked on the ground that night, and our guests.”
The restaurant was contacting diners to inform them of a possible exposure, he said.
The New York City government said, “The Key to NYC rules were put in place to protect all New Yorkers, including the small businesses that fuel our city’s economy.”
“Ms Palin needs to respect small business workers and follow the rules like everyone else.”
Palin did not comment. On Monday night, she confirmed her Covid test and told Fox News she felt “absolutely fine.” She also declined to comment on her case against The Times, over a 2017 op-ed about her comments on gun violence.
The Times said Elio’s, which has been open at East 84th and Second Avenue since 1981, was known for its “celebrity clientele” including Tom Hanks, Joan Didion and Mick Jagger.
The newspaper also cites an obituary of the restaurant’s founder, Elio Guaitolini, which describes “an informal clubhouse for Manhattan’s social and media elite.”
The founder’s son said Palin was “a controversial person wherever she goes” and wished her “a speedy recovery”.
Among New Yorkers who saw Palin dine at Elio’s, New York magazine writer Shawn McCreesh alluded to the politician’s famous impression of a New York institution, Saturday Night Live.
“My mom thought she was Tina Fey,” he said. tweeted.