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Wisconsin nurse went to bar to help sister reopen, now apologizes for 'lapse in judgment'

"I let my guard down and apologize for making anyone feel uncomfortable or at risk," said nurse Katie Koutsky, who was not wearing a mask when interviewed on TV at the bar.

A Wisconsin nurse who was interviewed on TV while at a local bar to support her sister's reopening is now apologizing for not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing.

The apology from Katie Koutsky comes after she was interviewed Wednesday by NBC affiliate WTMJ in Milwaukee for a story on crowds gathering at bars in the nearby city of West Allis after the state Supreme Court struck down the governor's stay-at-home order.

“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 bars,” Koutski said at the time, telling the outlet that she didn't think being at the bar presented a greater risk than going to a grocery store.

More than a dozen people were inside the establishment, Limanski’s Pub. A note taped on the outside of the door told patrons to sanitize their hands and remain at least two bar stools apart unless they were from the same family, according to WTMJ.

In a statement on Friday that was released by her employer, Advocate Aurora Health, Koutsky said she was at the bar to help her sister with the reopening and apologized for her "lapse in judgment."

"While my priority was to support my sister and her attempt to restart her business, which has been devastated by this pandemic, I’d like to express my regret for not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing while there," she said in the statement.

Koutsky said she does not have any symptoms of COVID-19 and does not believe she's been exposed to the coronavirus, but out of an abundance of caution she will self-quarantine. Before she goes back to work, she said she will undergo a screening for the virus.

"As a nurse, I understand the fear and uncertainty everyone is facing and how important it is to practice safety measures not only at sites of care, but while away from work," she said. "I let my guard down and apologize for making anyone feel uncomfortable or at risk."

Advocate Aurora Health said it was "disappointed" and reminded people to continue practicing health officials' safety guidelines.

"The health and safety of our patients, team members and our community are our highest priorities," the company said.