New photos of a birthday party attended by California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife at an upscale restaurant in the wine country earlier this month appeared to show an unmasked group eating shoulder-to-shoulder indoors, according to a report.
The photos, obtained by FOX 11 in Los Angeles, were taken by a witness who told reporter Bill Melugin the governor’s group was being so loud the open sliding glass doors near where they were seated had to be closed.
Newsom apologized Monday over the party after he received backlash over it, saying he made a “bad mistake.”
“I should have stood up and … drove back to my house…The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted,” he said. “ I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”
Newsom was eating at the pricy restaurant French Laundry north of San Francisco to celebrate longtime adviser Jason Kinney’s 50th birthday.
A spokesman for Kinney told FOX 11 the seating was considered outdoors.
“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.”
The controversy comes as Newsom announced new coronavirus restrictions this week, including closing indoor dining in a majority of counties across the state as cases surge in California and across the country.
State officials have urged residents to avoid large Thanksgiving gatherings next week to keep the virus from spreading.
Newsom said in his apology that he wanted to “own” his mistake because he worried it would undermine the message of safety he wanted to send to residents.
“I’m doing my best every single day in trying to model better behavior,” he said.
Newsom’s office pointed to FOX 11 to the governor’s apology when asked for comment about the photos.
Newsom on Monday called the party a “bad mistake”