California Gov. Gavin Newsom is raising eyebrows with his attendance at a Napa County birthday party, given his criticism of citizens who “get together outside of their household cohorts” during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Democrat chastised Californians on Monday for “letting their guard down on Monday” despite attending the posh French Laundry restaurant on Nov. 6.
“Is this a major breach by Newsom? No. But it’s not the best judgment. He has to be the grownup in the room. And he has to be the one that people model. That’s what comes with the responsibility of being a leader,” John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert and a clinical professor emeritus at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, told the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday.
The newspaper noted that “at least 12 people” gathered at the Napa event for a friend and adviser to Mr. Newsom.
Nathan Click, communications director for Newsom, defended Mr. Newsom’s decision as “in line with the state’s rules for restaurant operation.”
Mr. Swartzberg wasn’t swayed by the rationale.
“The idea that it’s OK to do that because it’s at a restaurant is upside down,” Mr. Swartzberg told the newspaper. “Whether or not it abides the letter of the guidance, I think it’s not a good idea.”
Reporter Alexi Koseff noted that California Department of Public Health issued guidelines Oct. 9 prohibiting private gatherings that include more than three households.
“The state also requires that gatherings be held outside, where virus transmission is less likely, and recommends that they be kept to two hours or less,” Mr. Koseff reported.