Sarah Palin returns to NYC restaurant two days after testing positive for Covid

Two days after testing positive for Covid-19, Sarah Palin returned to the New York City restaurant where she had been caught dining inside over the weekend despite the fact that she is not vaccinated against the virus, NBC News confirmed Thursday.

This time, however, the staff at Elio's insisted that the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate eat outside when she and her party arrived Wednesday evening at the celebrity-filled restaurant on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

"Tonight Sarah Palin returned to the restaurant to apologize for the fracas around her previous visit," Elio's manager Luca Guaitolini said in a statement obtained by NBC News and first reported by WNYC/Gothamist. "In accordance with the vaccine mandate and to protect our staff, we seated her outdoors."

"We are a restaurant open to the public, and we treat civilians the same," the statement said.

But Palin appeared to flout federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines which recommend that people who test positive for Covid self-isolate for five days "even if you don't have symptoms."

And later Thursday, the office of New York City Mayor Eric Adams urged New Yorkers who crossed paths with Palin to get tested.

"We encourage any New Yorker who came into contact with Sarah Palin to get tested, just as we encourage all New Yorkers to get tested regularly, especially those who believe they may have been exposed to Covid-19," said mayoral spokesman Jonah Allon, according to The New York Daily News.

Palin also dined "al fresco" on Tuesday night at Campagnola, which is another well-regarded Italian restaurant in the area, WNYC/Gothamist reported.

NBC News has reached out for comment to Palin's attorney.

Palin has been in New York City because she is in the midst of a defamation battle with the New York Times. Her trial was delayed until Feb. 3 after she tested positive for Covid.

“She is, of course, unvaccinated,” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan, who is presiding over the case, said while announcing the delay.

Elio's, an Italian restaurant that is popular with celebrities, got some unwanted attention when Palin was spotted on Saturday night eating inside with a friend just two days after she tested positive for Covid.

Patrons are required to present proof of vaccination before they are allowed to eat inside New York City restaurants, according to city Covid regulations.

But nobody checked Palin for proof of vaccination, Guaitolini said.

“We are taking this isolated incident — and unfortunate oversight — very seriously,” he added in a statement Monday. “Elio’s adheres to and believes in the vaccine mandate, and all it is doing to protect our staff, regulars and the dining public.”

Guaitolini said the restaurant was reaching out to other patrons who dined at Elio’s while Palin was there with a “regular” whom he declined to identify.

Meanwhile, the city said it will not investigate Elio's for the lapse because the agencies that enforce Covid rules only issue violations if an inspector witnesses one. 

The first report of Palin dining inside Elio's came from another diner, whose mother apparently mistook her for actress Tina Fey. 

Fey famously lampooned Palin on "Saturday Night Live" when the Alaskan was the late Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008.

But in a statement, City Hall took Palin to task for endangering others and ignoring Covid rules.

“The key to NYC rules were put in place to protect all New Yorkers — including the small businesses that power our city’s economy,” it said. “Ms. Palin needs to respect small business workers and follow the rules just like everyone else.”

Palin and members of her family tested positive for Covid-19 in April. At the time, she urged people to continue social distancing and wearing masks.

But Palin has adamantly refused to get vaccinated. 

"It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot,” Palin said just last month at a right-wing gathering in Arizona.

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