Dem gov reportedly maskless at wine bar after discouraging inessential activities
Rhode Island’s Governor Gina Raimondo (D), 49, joins a long list of Democratic leaders who are telling their constituents to stay home, skip the holidays, and hunker down, while she does the exact opposite. Raimondo is getting intense backlash after she was photographed at a wine and paint night just days after she had discouraged inessential activities to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The picture was taken by Erica Oliveras last Friday and it shows Raimondo sitting at a table in Barnaby’s Public House in Providence without a mask. The mother-of-two discouraged inessential activities just days before she was pictured out with her husband, Andy Moffit.
Oliveras actually came to the governor’s defense saying that the backlash over the photo was blown out of proportion because Raimondo had only taken off the mask to drink her wine.
“She only took her mask off whenever she was drinking her wine,” Oliveras said. “That’s the only time she took it off. When she came into the building she had her mask. Whenever the waiters approached her she had a mask on.”
Others did not see it that way. They felt that Raimondo’s actions were hypocritical, given that four days prior she urged Rhode Islanders in a tweet to “stay home except for essential activities & wear a mask anytime you’re with people you don’t live with.” Drinking wine and painting are not considered ‘essential activities’ and her getting caught not wearing a mask has incensed many in Rhode Island and across the nation.
Susan Goodman, a Providence resident, said that the governor “shouldn’t even be at an event like that.”
“You can drink wine at home. I’m an experienced wine drinker Gina, do it at home,” Goodman said. “Shame on you Gina. Come on, you know better than that.”
Oliveras took a different view even going so far as to praise Raimondo as helping a small business.
“The main thing I took out of it is, ‘wow, she’s here at a small business and she’s supporting,” Oliveras said. “She came in. She supported. She bought wine. She engaged.”
It’s week two of our pause. I know it's been hard, but I want to thank every Rhode Islander who's following our guidance. Please, stay home except for essential activities & wear a mask anytime you’re with people you don’t live with. Together, we can turn our case numbers around.
— Gina Raimondo (@GovRaimondo) December 7, 2020
Under Rhode Island’s pause, indoor recreational facilities, entertainment venues, and gyms are closed until at least Monday. Bar areas will remain closed and places of worship and other venues of assembly will still be regulated at 25% maximum capacity even after the pause is lifted.
Businesses such as restaurants, bars, personal services, gyms, and recreational facilities must close by 10 p.m. on most weekdays and by 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Business owners rallied in front of Raimondo’s house on Sunday, demanding the regulations to be lifted.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office told ABC6 news that Governor Raimondo didn’t do anything wrong and followed guidelines.
“The governor had dinner at a local restaurant with her husband, and had her mask on anytime she was not eating/drinking,” Josh Block said.
Governor Raimondo is still in quarantine after the head of the Department of Health tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. Raimondo tested negative for Covid-19 on Saturday but remains in self-isolation.