California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) made waves earlier this week when he was caught breaking his own COVID-19 rules while attending a ritzy birthday bash at an exclusive California restaurant.
Newsom, who is already on thin ice with his disgruntled constituents, proceeded to lie about the incident, and then quickly issued new lockdown orders for his state, further inflaming the ire of state residents.
As COVID-19 cases rise in his state, despite maintaining stay-at-home orders well into the summer and mandating mask wearing for months, Newsom took it upon himself to ratchet up restrictions ahead of the holiday season.
Newsom announced on Thursday that he is imposing a limited stay-at-home order from the hours of 10 PM – 5 AM for the counties that have been designated as the most severely impacted by COVID-19 — 41 counties that contain 95 percent of the state’s population.
According to the order, all “non-essential work, movement and gatherings” are prohibited within those “purple tier” counties overnight. The order is slated to last until December 21, though the governor indicated that it could easily be extended.
California’s tiered ranking system for COVID-19 impact places counties in a color-coded category based on the extend of the virus spread — purple being the most widespread. According to a press release from Newsom’s office explaining the order:
This limited Stay at Home Order is designed to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. Activities conducted during 10 PM to 5 AM are often non-essential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood for adherence to safety measures like wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance.
COVID-19 cases in California have been ramping up for weeks, but that didn’t stop Newsom from quietly attending his friend’s birthday party at the French Laundry, an upscale restaurant in the Napa Valley, earlier this month.
After news broke that Newsom had attended a gathering that included individuals from outside his household, a public uproar ensued. Newsom issued a statement apologizing for giving the appearance of violating his own rules but said that all COVID-19 guidelines were followed at the gathering, including social distancing and mask-wearing.
New controversy erupted, however, when FOX 11 obtained exclusive photos of the governor sitting indoors with a number of individuals that were not socially distancing or wearing masks — a direct violation of many commonly accepted CDC rules and proof that Newsom had attempted to cover his tracks in his earlier apology.
Instead of addressing the issue head-on, Newsom moved quickly to issue the new limited stay-at-home order — and even placed the same county in which the restaurant is located in the most restrictive tier, lest anyone else hold a party at the French Laundry similar to the one he gladly attended.