A Democrat mayor in California is facing criticism over accusations of ignoring coronavirus restrictions after urging residents in his city to “cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe.”
NBC Bay Area reported Monday that Democrat San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo appeared to “have broken health protocols in celebrating Thanksgiving with family members outside of his own household.”
Reporters from the local affiliate learned that he celebrated Thanksgiving with his elderly parents, which his office later confirmed, with “an unknown number of other guests.”
His office did not disclose how many people attended the dinner, how many different households attended, and whether those who attended wore masks.
“This is a private event – not public,” said Jim Reed, Liccardo’s chief of staff. “We are going to redraw the line between what is personal and what is public because that line has become blurred.”
The revelation comes after Liccardo tweeted the day before Thanksgiving: “Cases are spiking, in part because we’re letting our guard (and masks) down with family & friends. Let’s cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe.”
Cases are spiking, in part because we’re letting our guard (and masks) down with family & friends. Let’s cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe https://t.co/oHFXb6DZ82
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) November 25, 2020
“While few details about Liccardo’s Thanksgiving celebration have been released, it appears the gathering did elude guidelines frequently touted by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19,” NBC Bay Area added. “A recent spike in coronavirus cases has prompted tighter restrictions across the Bay Area and the potential for California to exceed its capacity for hospital beds within weeks.”
“Keep your holiday gatherings to your immediate household members only,” warned Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody two weeks before Thanksgiving. “I cannot emphasize enough, gathering with friends and family who are not in your household is not safe.”
Political leaders’ Thanksgiving warnings sparked fierce debate across the country, with some epidemiologists pushing back on the more dire assertions by mayors and governors. As reported by The New York Times last week, epidemiologists, contradicting many claims by political leaders, stated that small gatherings among family and friends are not driving surging cases of COVID-19.
“If people are going to meet up, doing so outdoors is probably the lowest-risk way to do it,” said University of Toronto infectious disease modeler Ashleigh Tuite, as reported by the Times. “Telling people they can’t spend time safely outdoors isn’t a rational approach. People are going to recognize that and push back.”
Liccardo is not the first California politician to come under scrutiny over alleged hypocrisy on COVID-19 restrictions. Amid mounting backlash, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) recently apologized for attending a Nov. 6 dinner party with a dozen or so other people at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley.
“More than three households were present, a violation of the mandatory guidelines for social gatherings set forth by the California Department of Public Health at the time,” The Daily Wire reported. “Newsom said the birthday celebration had taken place outdoors, but images obtained by an investigative reporter in L.A. called that claim into question.”