California Governor Gavin Newsom was forced to explain himself after he appeared, again, to flout his own pandemic-driven restrictions on indoor dining when he posted a TikTok from inside a shuttered restaurant.
The governor appeared alongside comedian George Lopez inside the Los Amigos Mexican restaurant in Fresno, California, which is still under “purple-level” restrictions, according to Fox News, meaning no indoor dining is yet allowed.
Newsom was at Los Amigos, apparently, to speak with the owners about receiving a pandemic relief grant from the state of California. He and the former sitcom star filmed a TikTok video from inside the restaurant instructing Fresno residents on how to sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Social media users, though, were quick to point out that Los Amigos is not open for business — by edict of the state of California — and that Newsom appeared to be, yet again, breaking his own pandemic-related restrictions.
I don’t like him but is this proof that he dined inside?
— Mark B In SD (@MomsOopsBaby) February 28, 2021
Although there is no food pictured on the tables, Twitter sleuths claimed the restaurant “served” Newsom because a shot of the governor and Lopez seemed to show a tray with drinks on it, and the pair were in the restaurant for “an hour.” He and Lopez also do not appear to be practicing effective social distancing.
Look at the table and decide for yourself. They were there for an hour. pic.twitter.com/1spIyiC4vT
— CaliforniaGirlinaCaliforniaWorld (@PorscheCutie) February 28, 2021
Newsom’s office insists he was there just for the grant visit.
“California Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared indoors at a restaurant in a county where indoor dining is not allowed, but the governor’s office has said he did not dine at the restaurant,” the outlet reported Saturday night. ‘He was there to meet with the restaurant’s owners, who received a relief grant,” a Newsom spokesperson said.
Newsom was caught flouting coronavirus restrictions in November, when he and a group of acquaintances dined together at the tony French Laundry restaurant in Napa, California. At the time, indoor dining was prohibited. Initially, Newsom insisted the group dined outside but later seemed to acknowledge breaking the rules.
“I should have stood up and drove back to my house,” he said in a speech later. “The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted. I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”
“I’m doing my best every single day in trying to model better behavior,” he added at the time.
Because of that flub and a host of other concerns — including that many of California’s school districts have yet to return to in-person instruction despite clear evidence that classroom learning is safe — Newsom has fallen under significant scrutiny and is now likely to face a recall election — and organizers say they are close to getting a Newsom recall on the ballot.
“Organizers of the Newsom recall effort say they’ve collected 1.825 million signatures. They need 1.5 million signatures by March 17 but are accounting for a fraction of the signatures to be rejected,” Fox News reported.
The restaurant industry in California is also in dire straits, as it remains one of the few states where indoor dining, in any capacity, is still banned to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
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