LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer apologized Sunday after apparently violating state-mandated social distancing guidelines at an East Lansing bar.

It was the latest in a series of pandemics missteps for Whitmer, who waited weeks to disclose partial details of a private jet trip she took to visit her father in Florida after two of her top aides headed south during a coronavirus surge in Michigan, while other Michiganders were being cautioned about traveling south for spring break.

A photo was widely circulated on social media of Whitmer with a large group of unmasked people at an East Lansing bar-restaurant, The Landshark Bar & Grill.

“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been committed to following public health protocols,” Whitmer said in a Sunday statement.

“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.”

The photo, which shows Whitmer seated with about a dozen people at no fewer than three tables that had been pushed together, was posted on social media by one of the attendees, but later deleted.

Michigan restaurants and bars are still subject to capacity limits and social distancing requirements.

Current orders require six people or fewer at tables and distances of six feet between tables.

Whitmer received her second vaccination dose April 29, meaning she is considered fully vaccinated.

Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, in a post on Twitter accused Whitmer of hypocrisy.

“Capacity limits, patrons per table limits, curfews & other ridiculous restrictions need to end immediately,” Sachs said. “She isn’t even abiding by those rules.

“A year after the boat episode & Whitmer and those around her still don’t think their Covid rules apply to them.”

Criticisms directed at Whitmer over whether she was observing the same pandemic rules others were subjected to began in May 2020, when Whitmer’s husband asked whether his status as Michigan’s First Gentleman could help him jump the line to get his boat in the water ahead of Memorial Day weekend. That followed a temporary ban on the use of motorized watercraft.

Whitmer said her husband, Marc Mallory, made a failed attempt at humor when he made the request of a boat contractor.

“He thought it might get a laugh,” Whitmer said.

“It didn’t, and to be honest I wasn’t laughing either when it was relayed to me because I knew how it would be perceived.”

Paul Egan
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Whitmer apologizes after violating social distancing rules at East Lansing bar


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