Philadelphia’s mayor has not been experiencing much brotherly love after an image of him dining inside a Maryland restaurant went viral while eateries in his city remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports.
Mayor Jim Kenney — who was photographed enjoying the meal on Sunday — has spent months urging residents to socially distance and avoid indoor situations where the bug could be spread, NBC Philadelphia reported.
In Maryland, limited indoor dining is permitted under the state’s current pandemic guidelines, according to the news outlet.
But that didn’t stop people from raking him over the coals.
One notable Philly resident, famed chef and restaurateur Marc Vetri, slammed the mayor as a hypocrite.
“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 on Instagram.
“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,” he added.
Kenney responded to the criticism with an apology on Twitter.
“I know some are upset that I dined indoors at a restaurant in Maryland yesterday,” he wrote Monday. “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.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney eating indoors in Maryland while indoor dining in his city remains closed.
He added: “Regardless, I understand the frustration.”
In a separate tweet, 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. Looking forward to reopening indoor dining soon and visiting my favorite spots.”
Mayoral spokeswoman Deana Gamble told the NBC affiliate that Kenney “went to Maryland earlier today 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. He looks forward to expanding indoor dining locally next week.”
She added: “Throughout the pandemic the Mayor has consistently deferred to the guidance of the Health Commissioner, who in this case felt strongly about waiting until Sept. 8 to resume indoor dining. If elected officials at the federal level had similarly deferred to health experts over the past five months, this might not even be an issue by now.”