Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
(D) has apologized after being photographed dining indoors with at least a dozen people
who were not wearing masks
, in violation of 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 released on Sunday after a photo of the event in East Lansing was shared on Facebook
, attracting the attention of a conservative media
“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, but we didn’t stop to think about it because we were all vaccinated.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
requires that indoor dining groups have a maximum of six people and be at least six feet apart.
Whitmer has also faced scrutiny for a private flight she took to Florida
in March to visit her ailing father, despite her urging Michigan residents to avoid traveling to Florida for spring break in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.
She is still under fire for the trip, which cost $27,521, only a small portion of which she paid for herself; the rest came from a nonprofit set up to fund the state's inauguration-related events, according to The Associated Press
Residents in Michigan who oppose the state's pandemic guidelines have also targeted her.
Authorities say a group of men plotted to kidnap Whitmer at one point because of her pandemic stay-at-home orders and mask mandates, which have been in effect across much of the country. Fourteen people have been charged in state and federal court in connection with the violent scheme.