- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Photos show a maskless California Gov. Gavin Newsom mingling in close proximity to others sans masks at the upscale Napa County birthday party that sparked a backlash against the governor earlier this week, FOX 11 reported Tuesday night.

FOX 11 said the photos, taken by another patron who was not a guest at the Nov. 6 party at the French Laundry restaurant, showed Mr. Newsom violating his own COVID-19 protocols he set forth for the state, which require masks in all public settings, social distancing of at least 6 feet, and a ban on private gatherings of more than three households.

Mr. Newsom apologized Monday for what he said was “a bad mistake,” saying he realized as soon as he sat down at the outdoor table that the group was larger than he had expected and that he should have immediately left but chose not to.

“Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove back to my house,” he told reporters. “Instead, I chose to sit there with my wife and a number of other couples that were outside the household. And you can quibble about the guidelines, et cetera, et cetera, but the spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted and I’ve got to own that.”

The woman who snapped the photos of Mr. Newsom told FOX 11 the party was actually in a closed-off room, and that the sliding-glass doors had to be closed in order to keep their noise from bothering the other guests.

“While we were there we realized there was a very loud party going on in a room 20 feet from us. It was a bit annoying since you’re spending hard-earned money to go there,” the woman said. “It got louder and louder and so they had some sliding glass doors that they were able to close, so then it was a closed-off room but you could still hear them with how loud they were.”

Mr. Newsom’s office referred FOX 11 to his previous apology and refused to comment on the specifics of the report.

A spokesperson for political adviser Jason Kinney, whose birthday party Mr. Newsom was attending, told the station that the party was indeed outside.

“The guests and the restaurant followed all applicable state and county public health guidance,” the spokesperson said. “The guests specifically required outdoor seating. And that’s outdoor seating, as confirmed and provided by the restaurant.”

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