California Gov. Gavin Newsom wears a protective mask on his face while speaking to reporters at Miss Ollie’s restaurant during the coronavirus outbreak in Oakland, California on June 9, 2020(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, Pool, File)
Friday afternoon California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an apology after breaking COVID guidelines to attend a birthday dinner last week.
Newsom and his wife had gathered at the infamous French Laundry restaurant in Yountville on November 6th in order to celebrate friend and political adviser, Jason Kinney. San Francisco Chronicle reported that at least 12 individuals from several households gathered at the event.
While outdoor dining is permitted, Newsom was called out for breaking an early October addendum to the state’s restrictions that prevent mingling with multiple households, even outdoors. The event was made even more dangerous as the dinner required attendees to remove their masks to eat and drink.
“Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests. Remember, the smaller the number of people, the safer,” stated the public health guideline.
After the story broke early Friday morning, Governor Newsom would issue an apology by the afternoon.
“While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” Newsom said.
While the Governor’s actions aren’t egregious, they are a bit hypocritical from someone leading their state through a historic pandemic.
Even Bay Area leaders, like San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed, warned that “COVID fatigue” could make things worse. In a presser Friday she reminded us that our short-term losses will be less than the long-term devastation that the Coronavirus can bring.
“COVID-fatigue is real. We all feel it. But we can’t get complacent. We are seeing COVID spread across the country, & the rate of new cases in San Francisco is increasing,” she said in a tweet. “Do your part. The hard choices we make now will help make things better for us in the future.”
The timing of Newsom’s blunder is a bit awkward as California, Oregon, and Washington today issued interstate travel bans as COVID cases surge in the United States and California hits a record 1 million cases. The new travel restrictions urge against, “non-essential out-of-state travel, ask people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country and encourage residents to stay local.”