Sarah Palin Is 'Just Friends' with New York Rangers' Ron Duguay, Source Says amid Romance Rumors

·3 min read
Sarah Palin, Ron Duguay
Sarah Palin, Ron Duguay

D Dipasupil/Getty; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Sarah Palin had a highly visible dinner out this week with former hockey star Ron Duguay, but a source insists that they are not an item.

After the former Alaska governor and vice presidential hopeful, 57, was seen at an Upper East Side restaurant this week in Manhattan with the retired New York Rangers player, speculation sparked about a new romance.

The pair was photographed at Elio's eatery on Wednesday evening, and Page Six reported on Friday that they have been an item since late last year.

However, a Palin source tells PEOPLE they're "just friends" who "met through hockey." (Duguay could not be reached for comment.)

RELATED: Mayor Slams Sarah Palin for Dining Out While Infected with COVID, Tells Close Contacts: 'Get Tested'

Palin has been single since 2020, after her husband of 31 years, Todd Palin, filed for divorce in August 2019.

Duguay, 64, was married to supermodel Kim Alexis from 1993 until 2013.

RELATED VIDEO: Sarah Palin Says She Learned Husband Todd Was Seeking a Divorce Via Email

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Palin was in New York ahead of a trial for a libel lawsuit she brought against The New York Times. The start of that trial was pushed back by a federal judge after he learned Palin was again infected with COVID-19. (Jury selection is now set to begin Feb. 3.)

Mayor Eric Adam's office addressed Palin's decision to dine out in the days immediately after her positive diagnosis, saying she "has shown a complete disregard" for health and safety guidelines.

"By repeatedly flouting CDC guidelines, Ms. Palin has shown a complete disregard for the health and safety of small business workers and her fellow patrons," Adams' spokesman Jonah Allon said in a statement.

RELATED: Sarah Palin Tests Positive for COVID — Again — as NYT Defamation Trial Was Set to Begin

"The city offers multiple resources to support isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19, and we encourage Ms. Palin to join the 98 percent of New Yorkers who report they have followed guidance on isolation and have helped New York City stop the spread."

This is apparently the second time Palin has been diagnosed with COVID, after she announced an earlier infection last year. But that hasn't stopped her from visiting New York City restaurants right before and after being tested.

According to the Times, Palin also ate indoors at Elio's in Manhattan last Saturday. The restaurant said it made a mistake allowing her to eat there because it requires guests to provide proof of vaccination to eat indoors, and Palin is not vaccinated.

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

D Dipasupil/Getty Sarah Palin

RELATED: Sarah Palin Reveals COVID Diagnosis and 'Bizarre' Symptoms, Urges Others to Continue Wearing Masks

She was back at Elio's on Wednesday after her positive test results were revealed, the Upper East Side eatery's manager said.

"In accordance with the vaccine mandate and to protect our staff, we seated her outdoors," Luca Guaitolini told the website Gothamist. "We are a restaurant open to the public, and we treat civilians the same."

"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," the mayor's spokesman previously told PEOPLE.

* Reporting by ADAM CARLSON