The manager of a New York City restaurant says former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin defied the city's COVID-19 mandates over the weekend by dining indoors while unvaccinated, according to NBC News and CNN.
The revelation comes a day after a trial over Palin's defamation lawsuit against The New York Times was delayed after the former Republican vice presidential nominee contracted the virus. In announcing the trial's delay until February, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff noted that Palin was not vaccinated.
NBC News and CNN both report that Palin was spotted at Elio's, a Manhattan restaurant, on Saturday evening. In a statement, restaurant manager Luca Guaitolini confirmed Palin dined at Elio's.
Since September, New York City has required proof of vaccination to take part in some indoor activities, including dining at restaurants.
In his statement, Guaitolini said the manager on duty that evening checked "150 to 200" vaccination cards.
"We are taking this isolated incident — an unfortunate oversight — very seriously. Elio's adheres to and believes in the vaccine mandate, and all it is doing to protect our staff, regulars, and the dining public. My focus right now is on the safety of my staff who worked the floor that night, and on our guests," Guaitolini said.
Palin originally sued The New York Times in 2017. She claims the newspaper defamed her in an opinion piece that blamed her political rhetoric for the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011. In a correction two days later, the Times admitted the piece had "flawed" wording.
Initially, the suit was thrown out, but that decision was reversed on appeal in 2019.
To win the suit, Palin's legal team would need to prove that the Times and then-editorial editor James Bennet acted with "actual malice" and knowingly published false information about Palin.