Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was busted eating at New York City restaurants on Tuesday and Wednesday despite testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday.
Palin, who ran for vice president in 2008 on the late Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) ticket, is famously unvaccinated for the disease, saying that she would get a COVID vaccine “over my dead body” last month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that anyone who tests positive for COVID self-isolate for five days and to wear a mask for an additional five days.
But Palin was caught dining out in Manhattan just after her positive test. She was seen at the Upper East Side restaurant Campagnola on Tuesday and then at Elio’s on Wednesday. She was not wearing a mask.
Palin was filmed shouting “Ciao! Buonanotte!” at staff as she left Elio’s on Wednesday, as if she were on vacation in the Big Apple instead of waiting for her trial to begin, the trial which was supposed to start on Monday but was delayed because of her positive COVID test.
She was also caught eating at Elio’s on Saturday despite being unvaccinated. Adults in New York City are required to show proof of vaccination in order to go to restaurants. Elio’s could face a fine of $1000 for her Saturday night dinner since they didn’t check her proof of vaccination.
Luca Guaitolini, operations manager for Elio’s, said that she “returned to the restaurant to apologize” on Wednesday for eating there while unvaccinated on Saturday, despite testing positive between the two visits.
Guaitolini said that she “probably strolled over” to a table before she could be asked for proof of vaccination on Saturday.
This past September, Palin said that she will not get vaccinated because she is “one of those white common sense conservatives.”
Palin built her public image on her humble roots as the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, hunting caribou to show that she’s not some big city elitist like other politicians. So it may come as a surprise to some of her fans that she’s spending so much time dining on the Upper East Side.
She is currently in New York City suing the New York Times for libel. In 2017, former Times editor James Bennet wrote an editorial that linked a 2011 mass shooting to an ad from Palin’s PAC that took aim at one of the shooting’s victims, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). The Times corrected the editorial within 24 hours to make it clear that the paper did not believe that there was a connection between the ad and the shooting.
Palin is still suing the Times despite the quick disclaimer, and she will have to prove that the Times had “actual malice” against her and didn’t just make a simple mistake. If she wins, the case could have a chilling effect on free speech since other politicians will surely be emboldened to sue publications if they don’t like opinion pieces written about them.