Governor Gavin Newsom was a guest at a birthday party that hosted at least a dozen attendees from more than three households last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Friday.
Newsom, together with his wife Jennifer, was at the French Laundry in Yountville on 6 November celebrating the 50th birthday of his longtime aide Jason Kinney. At the same time, mandatory requirements issued by the California Department of Public Health on 9 October prohibit gatherings of more than 3 households.
Newsom has acknowleged that "while our family followed the restaurant's health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner".
California, along with Oregon and Washington, has also introduced a travel advisory for its citizens, which recommends avoiding not only interstate but also intra-state travel, if not for an essential need.
On Friday, Newsom once again urged Californians to take the pandemic seriously and comply with health guidelines, such as wearing face-coverings and keeping social distance, as infections are rising nationwide.
#COVID19 update:— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 13, 2020
-Positivity rate: 3.9%
-Daily case average: 6,719
-Hospitalizations: 36% increase
-ICU: 37% increase
We absolutely must take these increases seriously.
Wear your mask. Physically distance. Do not let your guard down.
Your actions could literally save lives.
California health policies, however, are perceived sceptically by many Americans, who say that they have proved ineffective, given the rising virus numbers, and suggest it would be better to help citizens build immunity to the virus.
We want our lives back... we should have a state wide class-action lawsuit for the time you robbed from us.— Travis Vasquez (@travisvasquez) November 13, 2020
Dude we have been! Lockdown is not working. How about just focusing on building our immunity. Covid is pandemic worthy. Death rate is low. Lockdown is hurting more now and @WHO advises against long term solutions.— howevervaguely (@howevervaguely1) November 13, 2020
The California GOP said in a tweet on Friday that Newsom "seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth".
A representative for the birthday man Kinney told the media that the party was a "small, intimate, 12-person dinner held outdoors with family and a few close friends".
On 7 November, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser travelled to Delaware to celebrate the projected victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race, for which they faced harsh criticism, since the event hosted a large crowd of people.
Bowser defended attending the celebration, branding it as "absolutely essential travel", though it actually contradicted her state's quarantine order. "I do a lot of things to advance the interests of the District of Columbia. Some of them are formal and some of them are informal, but all of them are necessary", she said.
In Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot issued new guidelines telling citizens to stay at home as much as possible and to stop having guests over, meaning Chicagoans should forget about traditional Thanksgiving reunions with their family and friends this year.