California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who posed maskless for a photo during the 49ers-Rams NFL game – in defiance of a local mandate and the LA stadium’s own requirements – said he was otherwise “very judicious” about wearing it.
Newsom defended taking off his mask to take a photo Sunday with former LA Lakers star Magic Johnson in what appeared to be one of SoFi Stadium’s suites.
“I was very judicious yesterday. Very judicious. And you’ll see in the photo that I did take, where Magic was kind enough, generous enough to ask me for a photograph, and in my left hand’s the mask and I took a photo,” the governor said at a press conference Monday, according to the LA Weekly.
“The rest of the time, I wore it as we all should. Not when I had a glass of water or a thing. And I encourage everybody else to do so. And that’s it,” he added.
Asked whether he should have reconsidered removing the face covering, Newsom said, “Of course,” adding: “I was trying to be gracious. I made a mis–. I was trying to be gracious. I took the mask off for a brief second. I encourage people to continue to wear them,” KCRA reported.
LA County has a mask mandate in place for outdoor “mega events” that host more than 5,000 people, regardless of vaccination status. The rules will apply for the Super Bowl at the stadium on Feb. 13.
Under SoFi Stadium’s policies — which adhere to the local health order — masks are required to be worn at all times except when people are eating or drinking.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and San Francisco Mayor London Breed were also spotted in the suite without masks.
The Democratic governor and two mayors were not eating or drinking at the time the photos were taken.
“The Governor acknowledged that he took off his mask for a few moments during Sunday’s game,” Erin Mellon, Newsom’s communications director, told The Post on Monday.
“He continues to encourage all Californians to do their part to get through the pandemic and this latest surge, including wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.”
Newsom has faced harsh criticism during the pandemic for his controversial statewide mask mandate — particularly in relation to children being forced to wear face coverings in California schools.
He also was branded a hypocrite and apologized after he was caught attending a lavish dinner party for 12 at a restaurant in Napa in November 2020 — after he scolded residents for socializing during the pandemic.
On Monday, Republican state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley said: “In light of his conduct at the football game, and in light of what empirical data and common sense have long dictated, I’m calling on Gavin Newsom to end the school mask mandate,” the LA Weekly reported.