Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti claimed he held his breath when he posed for a maskless photo with NBA legend Magic Johnson at a football game, defying COVID-19 restrictions.
Garcetti joined Johnson and San Francisco Mayor London Breed for the photo, taken at SoFi Stadium in LA during the NFC Conference Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
The Democratic mayors and California Gov. Gavin Newsom have faced scrutiny for appearing maskless at the game and apparently disregarding local masking requirements and the arena’s own policy.
“I’ll take personal responsibility and if it makes you and everybody else happy or even the photographs with people where I’m literally holding my breath for two seconds I won’t even do that,” Garcetti told reporters at a press conference Wednesday while defending keeping a mask mandate in place.
Johnson, a former LA Lakers star, had posted the photo and others to his social media accounts which drew criticism of elected officials as California continues to observe a number of pandemic restrictions for public gatherings.
The press conference Wednesday came as officials urged fans attending the Super Bowl at SoFi next week to observe the restrictions and mask up except when eating or drinking. Garcetti denied his actions put anyone in danger.
“I won’t pull it down for two seconds anymore — that’s easy,” Garcetti said. “But to me, it is crystal clear that nobody has been endangered by that and I’m trying to model the good behavior of making sure we wear this (for the) entire game.”
The governor also was on the defensive about his own maskless photo with Johnson in one of SoFi’s suites. At a Monday news conference, Newsom said he was “very judicious” about having his mask on despite the photo.
“The rest of the time, I wore it as we all should,” Newsom said, according to LA Weekly. “Not when I had a glass of water or a thing. And I encourage everybody else to do so. And that’s it.”
LA County’s mask mandate for events with over 5,000 people in attendance, regardless of vaccination status. SoFi’s own policy requires masks except while eating and drinking, although many fans were seen flouting the policy during recent playoff games.
With Post wires