Th health care worker told a TV reporter that being in a crowded bar was no riskier than going to the supermarket.
Th health care worker told a TV reporter that being in a crowded bar was no riskier than going to the supermarket.

Nurse in hot water over video

A nurse in the United States has apologised for letting "her guard down" after she was filmed ignoring social distancing and drinking at a crowded bar.

Wisconsin nurse Katie Koutsky gave an interview last week to local TV station WTMJ after the state's Supreme Court reversed stay-at-home measures.

Ms Koutsky, who could be seen sitting close to other bar patrons and not wearing a mask, told the TV station she was happy to be able to go out once again.

She argued that the risk of going to the bar was no "higher than going to a grocery store".

Nurse Katie Koutsky gave an interview in which she said going to a bar was no riskier than going to the supermarket.
Nurse Katie Koutsky gave an interview in which she said going to a bar was no riskier than going to the supermarket.

"I have a toddler at home and I'm a full-time nurse so it's been very stressful and hard to not be able to go out and be with my friends and family at the bar," Ms Koutsky said.

According to NBC News the bar Ms Koutsky attended was owned by her sister and had a bout a dozen patrons inside it at the time.

All customers were made to sanitise their hands before entering and sit two bar stools apart unless they were related.

However Ms Koutsky's employers, Advocate Aurora Health, weren't happy about her appearance at the bar.

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Ms Koutsky was seen sitting close to other patrons and not wearing a mask.
Ms Koutsky was seen sitting close to other patrons and not wearing a mask.

In a statement the hospital told People they were "disappointed" by her actions.

"Given the ongoing education and safety measures we are fully committed to, we're disappointed. The health and safety of our patients, team members and our community are our highest priorities," a statement from the hospital said.

"As businesses begin to reopen, it's important we all to continue to practice safety measures that have been effective in stemming the spread including social distancing, thorough handwashing, staying at home when sick and wearing masks in public in accordance with local government guidance."

Ms Koutsky also released a statement of her own saying she regretted not wearing a mask and practising social distancing inside the bar.

"It was a lapse in judgment on my part to not ensure I had my mask prior to leaving my house and to not maintain social distancing - even during the interview requested by the reporter," she said.

The nurse said she would now be self-isolating to ensure she wouldn't pose a risk to hospital patients.

Wisconsin residents have protested against lockdown orders, which were reversed last week. Picture: Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP.
Wisconsin residents have protested against lockdown orders, which were reversed last week. Picture: Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP.

"While I do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and there are no indications of exposure, out of an abundance of caution, I am voluntarily self-quarantining for the next seven days," Ms Koutsky said.

"As standard practice at my hospital, I will undergo screening before returning to work."

People across the United States are continuing to protest lockdown laws, arguing the rules are unconstitutional and the economic impact outweighs the health risks of coronavirus.

Last week Wisconsin's Supreme Court reversed stay at home orders put in place by the state's Governor Tony Evers.

 

Mr Evers in March banned non-essential travel and ordered non-essential businesses to close in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The order was supposed to expire in late April but Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm extended it to May 26 at Mr Evers' direction.

Republican legislators frustrated with the order's economic fallout asked the state Supreme Court to strike the order down.

The court did, with the ruling leading to bars, restaurants, hair salons and other businesses reopening or planning to do so.

Fearing that infections might spike as people begin moving around again, about a dozen counties have now issued their own stay-at-home orders.

Originally published as Nurse in hot water over video


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