Two days before Sarah Palin tested positive for Covid-19, she dined at a New York City restaurant that’s a magnet for celebrities, the manager confirmed Monday.
Patrons are required to present proof of vaccination before they are allowed to eat inside New York City restaurants, according to city Covid regulations.
But apparently, nobody checked Palin, the former governor of Alaska who was the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, for proof of vaccination Saturday night at Elio’s, a popular Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, manager Luca Guaitolini said.
“We are taking this isolated incident — and unfortunate oversight —very seriously,” Guaitolini said in a statement Monday. “Elio’s adheres to and believes in the vaccine mandate, and all it is doing to protect our staff, regulars and the dining public.”
Guaitolini said that he was not working Saturday night and that the restaurant is reaching out to other patrons who were dining at Elio’s while Palin was there with a “regular” whom he declined to identify.
“My focus right now is on the safety of my staff who worked the floor that night, and on our guests,” Guaitolini said in his statement.
Palin is in New York City for a defamation trial against The New York Times.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan, who is presiding over the case, announced that “Ms. Palin had tested positive for coronavirus” just as her case was about to get underway Monday.
“She is, of course, unvaccinated,” Rakoff added.
A City Hall statement took Palin to task.
“The key to NYC rules were put in place to protect all New Yorkers — including the small businesses that power our city’s economy,” it said. “Ms. Palin needs to respect small business workers and follow the rules just like everyone else.”
Palin’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening.
Palin and members of her family tested positive for Covid-19 in April. At the time, she urged people to continue social distancing and wearing masks.
Guaitolini told The Times that the restaurant “just made a mistake” by not checking for Palin’s vaccination card.
Guaitolini told the newspaper that the restaurant checks vaccination cards for all first-time customers but not for regulars and that Palin had dined with a longtime guest.
The city guidelines specify what constitutes proof of vaccination and encourage restaurant operators to ask patrons specific questions to weed out potentially ill patrons and to “have a system in place for controlling crowding at your front door.”
Elio’s is among the 25,000 small businesses that city inspectors have visited and were found to be complying with Covid requirements, officials have said.