Philadelphia mayor seen dining indoors while city's restaurants can only serve outside

Indoor dining is yet to be allowed again in Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s mayor is facing criticism after a photo has emerged of him dining indoors in Maryland while his city's restaurants are only permitted to serve customers outside.

The image of Jim Kenney – posted on Instagram by restaurateur Marc Vetri – was taken Sunday in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, his office told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Glad you're enjoying indoor dining with no social distancing or mask wearing in Maryland tonight while restaurants here in Philly close, suffer and fight for every nickel just to survive,” Vetri wrote next to the photo. “I guess all your press briefings and your narrative of unsafe indoor dining don't apply to you. Thank you for clearing it all up for us tonight.”

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Indoor dining is set to resume in Philadelphia at 25-percent capacity on Sept. 8, according to Fox 29. Outdoor dining returned there in June after restaurants were shut down because of the coronavirus, while indoor dining has been permitted elsewhere in Pennsylvania.

Kenney addressed the uproar Monday, writing in a tweet: "I know some are upset that I dined indoors at a restaurant in Maryland yesterday.

"I felt the risk was low because the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia. Regardless, I understand the frustration," he said.

"Restaurant owners are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. I’m sorry if my decision hurt those who’ve worked to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances," he added. "Looking forward to reopening indoor dining soon and visiting my favorite spots."

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A Kenney spokesperson told Fox 29 earlier that “the mayor went to Maryland earlier to patronize a restaurant owned by a friend of his."

“For what it’s worth, he also went to Rouge to enjoy outdoor dining in Philly on the way home,” the spokesperson added.