San Jose Mayor Ignored Well being Protocols Throughout Vacation Celebration – NBC Bay Space
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo appears to have broken health protocols while celebrating Thanksgiving with family members outside of his own household.
The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit learned that Liccardo and his elderly parents were partying with an unknown number of other guests at their Saratoga home. While the mayor’s staff confirmed that dinner was held, they did not disclose how many other people were present, how many different households were present, and whether any of those present wore masks while not eating.
We will redraw the line between the personal and the public because this line is blurred.
Jim Reed, Mayor Liccardo’s chief of staff
“This is a private event – not public,” said Jim Reed, Liccardo’s chief of staff. “We will redraw the line between the personal and the public because this line is blurred.”
Reed repeated the same statement several times when asked to provide more details about the event, including the number of people present and the type of security in place.
Reed noted, however, that Liccardo and other guests practiced social distancing while they gathered and ate outside.
The mayor’s office originally said Liccardo spent Thanksgiving at home
When the mayor’s press team was questioned by the investigative department about the mayor’s Thanksgiving plans, he first said that Liccardo marked the holiday by “staying home” with his immediate family. However, the day after Thanksgiving, the mayor’s office announced to the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit that a spokesman had “misspelled” and stated that Liccardo was spending his family vacation with his parents.
Last week Liccardo urged his more than 33,000 Twitter followers to cancel “big gatherings this year”, pointing out the importance of following security protocols with friends and family.
“Cases are increasing,” he wrote. “We abandon our guards (and masks) with family and friends.”
Cases are on the rise, in part because we abandon our guard (and masks) with family and friends. Let’s cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on protecting each other https://t.co/oHFXb6DZ82
– Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) November 25, 2020
The Santa Clara County Health Officer urged people not to meet with other households
Although few details have been released about Liccardo’s Thanksgiving celebration, the gathering appears to be eluding the guidelines often touted by the Santa Clara County Health Department to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Keep your holiday gatherings only for your immediate household members.
Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer
“Hold your holiday gatherings only for your immediate household members,” warned Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, during a virtual town hall on November 14th. “I cannot stress enough that it is not safe to hang out with friends and family who are not in your household.”
A recent surge in coronavirus cases has resulted in tighter restrictions across the Bay Area and the potential for California to exceed hospital bed capacity in weeks.
How other Bay Area politicians spent Thanksgiving
The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit also inquired about the Thanksgiving daily schedules of other Bay Area politicians.
According to her staff, San Francisco Mayoress London Breed was spending the vacation at home alone. A friend of Breed dropped her off from dinner.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also spent Thanksgiving at home, according to her communications director. Schaaf spent the holidays with her husband and two children, with whom she regularly lives as part of her normal household.
Do what I say, not like me
Other notable politicians have recently come under fire for failing to follow the same rules and advice that they have asked of the public throughout the pandemic. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi came under fire after a surveillance video caught her walking without a mask in a San Francisco hair salon that was supposed to be closed at the time due to local restrictions that stopped salons from operating.
Governor Gavin Newsom was also heavily criticized in what some viewed as hypocrisy after it became known that he was attending a multi-household group dinner at a Napa Valley restaurant. Newsom later apologized after photos of the dinner were released.
“I made a serious mistake,” said Newsom. “Instead of sitting down, I should have got up and walked back, got in my car and headed back to my house.”
11:30 a.m. December 1st update: San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo made the following statement on his Thanksgiving Day:
“A recent news report last week raised questions about my family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
On Thanksgiving afternoon, my wife Jessica and I and my sister-in-law visited my parents’ house for an al fresco dinner on their backyard patio. The five of us and my brother have eaten together once or twice a week as a stable group of three households for several months. On this occasion, this brother came to us late and ate separately after we finished our meals. One of my sisters came to see us with her son and daughter-in-law that Thanksgiving afternoon.
In summary, eight of us, representing five households, sat at three detached tables in our own family groups on the back patio, wearing masks when we weren’t eating. I have a very large family – I am one of five children – and some of our family members who would have come over for Thanksgiving often in the past – including sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins - stayed home out of caution.
After returning home, I saw an NBC reporter’s tweet that I ate “at home” for Thanksgiving, apparently based on information from my communications office. Since this was inaccurate, I asked that we communicate with the reporter to correct the recording by making it clear that I was at my parents’ home. The next day, my chief of staff reached out to this reporter and informed him that I was at my parents’ house, which led to his report last night.
I understand that government regulations, enacted on November 13th, limit the number of households to three at a private gathering. I apologize for my decision to rally against state rules by having this Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I understand my duty as a civil servant to be exemplary in compliance with public health regulations and not to ignore them under any circumstances. I commit to do better. “