Woman who took photo of Governor Raimondo without mask speaks out

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE): Governor Gina Raimondo is still in quarantine after the head of the Department of Health tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

The governor is now getting backlash on social media after a picture was taken of her just one day before.

Erica Oliveras, who took the photo, says she and Governor Raimondo were both at Barnaby’s Public House in Providence on Friday night for a wine and paint night. Oliveras says she didn’t realize the backlash the picture would get, with many pointing out the fact Raimondo wasn’t wearing a mask.

Oliveras says people are making their own narratives and that the picture doesn’t tell the full story.

“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.”

Many others though think the governor is setting a bad example.

“Shame on you Gina,” Susan Goodman, from Providence, said. “She 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.”

Under Rhode Island’s pause, indoor restoration and entertainment facilities are forced to close. A spokesperson for the Dept. of Commerce tells ABC6 news the guidelines are referring to places like arcades or entertainment venues.

“An activity like the painting night would be allowed as long as there are protocols in place to prevent sharing of tools between households,” Matt Sheaff said.

Oliveras said she saw the governor being there as a positive for the community.

“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.”

A spokesperson for the governor’s office tells 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.

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