Already taking criticism for attending a party at the exclusive French Laundry in Yountville with as many as a dozen other people, Newsom stepped in it even further when photos contradicted the Governor’s claim that it had been an “outdoor” event.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, photos obtained by Fox 11 Los Angeles show Newsom, his wife, and several other couples gathered around a single table in a private indoor dining room that opens onto an outdoor area on November 6. The guests—including the birthday boy, advisor and lobbyist Jason Kinney—were sitting nearly shoulder to shoulder, and none wore masks.
This party might not have violated Napa regulations as they stood at the time, but the county has since been placed on the most restrictive “purple” tier for reopening.
News of the soiree first broke on Friday, which was somewhat unfortunate timing given that on the same day, California issued an advisory urging residents not to travel unnecessarily during the holiday season. After a brutal weekend, several California counties were moved into the most restrictive reopening tier; in L.A County, public health officials announced a fresh batch of guidelines to attempt to get the virus under control.
Over the last seven days California has seen the number of cases rise by 102 percent, and set a single day record Monday with 13,412 new cases.
“It’s so important to lead by example right now,” Cassandra Pye, who served as deputy chief of staff to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, told the Times.
Health and Human Services secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly added, “We have the guidance and the tips for a reason: We believe they are the strategies to keep ourselves in our communities safe. And we hope and expect people to take them seriously.”
During a coronavirus briefing on Monday, Newsom admitted the dinner had been a “bad mistake.”
“Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up and walked back, gotten in my car and drove back to my house,” he said. “Instead, I chose to sit there with my wife and a number of other couples that were outside [of my] household.”