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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was forced to apologize Sunday after she was caught attending a party that violated her own health department’s social distancing guidelines.
As of May 15, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, no more than six people can be seated together at a restaurant and different groups must be separated by at least six feet.
However, someone forgot to tell Whitmer, who was photographed with a smile on her face Saturday as she sat with 12 other people around a pair of pushed-together tables at an East Lansing bar.
According to Breitbart, which first reported on the photo, the image was posted to Facebook by another member of the governor’s party, then taken down, then reposted without including the governor and state Chief Operating Officer Tricia Foster.
“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been committed to following public health protocols,” Whitmer said in a statement obtained by the Detroit News and other local media Sunday.
“Yesterday, I went with friends to a local restaurant. As more people arrived, the tables were pushed together. Because we were all vaccinated, we didn’t stop to think about it. In retrospect, I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize.”
Whitmer’s social distancing slip-up recalled California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was photographed in November dining indoors with a dozen others at the exclusive French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley.
Hours earlier, Newsom had warned Californians not to gather in groups from more than three households and to wear masks when eating out. The incident is widely seen as galvanizing the recall campaign against Newsom, which will culminate in a recall vote later this year.
The bar incident was the latest embarrassment for Whitmer in her pandemic response. Last year, she claimed her husband was joking when he dropped her name in an attempt to get his boat installed by Memorial Day.
Earlier this year, Whitmer took even more heat for traveling to Florida to visit her elderly father after advising Michigan residents to think twice about travel and recommending spring breakers and snowbirds returning from the Sunshine State quarantine for at least a week amid a surge of coronavirus cases in her state.
It has since come to light that the flight she took to Florida was not authorized to perform charter flights and that the bulk of the flight’s cost was paid for by a nonprofit organization close to the governor.
Whitmer announced Thursday that all capacity limits on outdoor events in the state will be lifted June 1, with capacity restrictions on indoor and outdoors gatherings set to go away July 1.
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