California governor Gavin Newsom dined indoors when he joined friends for a birthday dinner earlier this month, a witness has claimed, challenging the governor’s account of the celebrations.
The witness, a woman who has not been identified, said she was eating at the French Laundry restaurant on the same night as Newsom – who was dining in a private room with 11 other people.
She said a sliding glass door to the room was initially left open, but was pulled across because the governor and his party were being ‘very loud’.
Guidelines for restaurants in place on the day of the dinner – November 6 – say outdoor seating must be ‘prioritized’.
Gavin Newsom dined indoors at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley when he joined friends for a birthday dinner earlier this month, a witness has claimed
Newsom (pictured during a lockdown announcement) was sitting in a private room with a glass door which was closed at one point because the group was being loud, the witness said
Newsom’s spokesman previously insisted the celebrations had taken place outdoors.
The witness told Fox11 Los Angeles: ‘There was a very loud party going on in a room 20 feet from us…
‘It got louder and louder and so [the staff] had some sliding glass doors that they were able to close, so then it was a closed-off room…
‘I happened to look over and realized, hey is that Gavin Newsom? I did ask one of the waitresses and she confirmed it was…
‘Nobody was wearing a mask. It was a very large group of people shoulder to shoulder, something that he’s always telling us not to do so it was a bit annoying.’
The woman also shared photos of Newsom in the private dining room – called the Board Room – at the restaurant.
The room is closed on three sides and covered by a roof, with a large glass sliding door opening out into a courtyard at the front.
A door appears to have been pulled halfway across the room, and guests can be seen sitting in their coats.
Guests are clearly not wearing face masks – something that is recommended but not required while dining – and are sitting less than 6ft away from each-other.
California guidelines issued on October 9 and in place when the dinner took place on November 6 state: ‘Gatherings may occur in outdoor spaces… provided that at least three sides of the space (or 75%) are open to the outdoors.
‘Seating must provide at least 6 feet of distance (in all directions—front-to-back and side-to-side) between different households.
‘Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited.’
However, separate guidelines for restaurants in place at the same time say only that outdoor seating should be ‘prioritized’ and that guests can be seated within 6ft.
On the issue of households, the guidelines state only: ‘Limit the number of patrons at a single table to a household unit or patrons who have asked to be seated together.’
Newsom, who plunged the vast majority of California into the strictest tier of restrictions this week, had previously acknowledged the party was ‘a bad mistake’.
But his spokesman denied that any rules had been broken, saying the governor had ‘followed public health guidelines and the restaurant’s health protocols’.
Newsom’s office told Fox News that they would not be commenting on the specifics of the witness’s account, or details contained in the photographs.
News of the dinner emerged as case numbers in California rose and as Newsom chastised people for ‘letting their guard down’ during gatherings.
On Monday, that case rise prompted Newsom to shut down indoor activities for 94 percent of the state and pause the reopening plan.
Newsom said 41 of California’s 58 counties will move into the purple COVID-19 reopening risk tier starting Tuesday, saying he was hitting the ’emergency brake’.
Newsom plunged most of California back into the strictest reopening measures on Monday after a spike in cases, after chastising people for ‘letting their guard down’
California has now logged more than 1million cases of Covid and 18,000 deaths, with cases now rising at the fastest rate ever
Under the purple tier indoor operations for museums, houses of worship, gyms and restaurants are not allowed. Bars that don’t provide food, concert venues, schools, and theme parks are also closed.
Counties going under the purple tier include Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Napa – where the restaurant he attended is located – and Solano counties in the Bay Area as well as Los Angeles.
Newsom said cases are now rising at their fastest rate since the start of the pandemic.
On Monday, California had logged 1,029,235 cases, 18,263 deaths and had a positivity rate of 4.6 percent – up three percent from October 29.
In the past two weeks in California there has been a 48 percent increase in hospital beds used by COVID-19 patients and the number of ICU patients has also risen 38 percent over the same time period.
‘We are sounding the alarm. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes,’ Newsom said.
‘Bottom line is, we’re moving from a marathon to a sprint,’ he said.
Newsom said that more tier announcements will be made as necessary and that counties can move back more than one tier at a time.
Furthermore, California is also requiring people to wear a mask whenever outside of their home, with a few exceptions.
State officials are also debating placing a curfew.