Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has issued an apology after she was photographed dining indoors with at least a dozen people without masks, breaking her state’s emergency order that limits such gatherings due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize,” Whitmer said in a statement Sunday after a photo of the event in East Lansing was posted on Facebook, attracting the attention of a conservative media outlet.
“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been committed to following public health protocols,” she said. “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.”
Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services requires that indoor dining groups consist of no more than six people and stay at least six feet away from others.
Whitmer has also faced scrutiny over a private flight to Florida she took in March to visit her ailing father. This out-of-state trip came despite her urging Michigan residents to avoid traveling to Florida for spring break to help prevent the virus’s spread.
She continues to face heat over the trip, however, due to its cost of $27,521, just a small fraction of which she personally paid for. The rest of the money came from a nonprofit established to pay for the state’s inauguration-related events, according to The Associated Press.
Michigan residents opposed to the state’s pandemic guidelines have also made her a target of their fury.
Authorities say a group of men at one point plotted to kidnap Whitmer because of her pandemic stay-at-home orders and mask mandates ― measures that have been in place across much of the country. Fourteen people have been charged in state and federal court in relation to the violent scheme.