Local and state leaders, like California Gov. Gavin Newsom, came into close quarters with others even as they urged residents to avoid doing just that. Within the last week, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Los Angeles County Supervisor Shelia Kuehl, and Austin Mayor Steve Adler all came under fire for their actions during the pandemic.
Adler, for example, apologized after news surfaced that he was on a Mexican vacation while urging others to stay home.
“While I violated no orders or guidelines, I regret this travel,” Adler said. “I wouldn’t travel now, didn’t over Thanksgiving and won’t over Christmas. But my fear is that this travel, even having happened during a safer period, could be used by some as justification for risky behavior. In hindsight, it set a bad example, for which I apologize.”
After attending Thanksgiving at his parent’s house, Liccardo made similar remarks.
“I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them,” he said. “I commit to do better.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also previously gathered with people who were celebrating on the streets after it appeared Biden would win the presidential election.
Earlier in the pandemic, de Blasio announced a smartphone app for residents who wanted report violations of social distancing to authorities. At the time, it was the nation’s largest COVID-19 hotspot. He also imposed fines on violators of up to $500.
Biden notably said he wouldn’t hold a large Thanksgiving celebration and urged other Americans not to as well. In a speech last week, he urged everyone to wear masks, practice social distancing and limit the size of groups, calling it a “patriotic duty” until a vaccine is approved.
One of Biden’s advisers, Dr. Celine Gounder, recently told CBS: “We fully expect that in about a week or two after Thanksgiving we will see an increase in cases first, then about a week or two later you’ll start to see an increase in hospitalizations, and then another week or two after that you’ll start to see deaths.”
Biden’s team did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Newsom and state and local health officials have similarly urged people to stay within their own households. If people must visit others, they should meet outside, include no more than three households, wear masks, stay socially distant and limit their interaction to two hours.
But the California governor came under fire after attending a dinner party with his wife on Nov. 6. The gathering included at least a dozen people and took place at an upscale restaurant in Napa Valley.
A Sacramento Bee editorial blasted the decision: “[T]his is a bad look for an elected official at any time, but especially during a pandemic that has claimed more than 18,000 lives in California and devastated the state’s economy.”
In addition, the dinner was in honor of a lobbyist.
“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 in a statement.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz, Joseph Wulfsohn, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.