Five California Lawmakers Dine Outside at Restaurant Amid Restrictions

outdoor dining
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Five California legislative assembly members, the majority of whom are Democrats, dined together outside amid a surge in coronavirus cases and stay-at-home orders that have been implemented around the state.

According to Los Angeles’ Fox 11, “lawmakers ate dinner outside at a Sacramento restaurant, hours after a swearing-in session that had been moved from the state Capitol to the Golden 1 Center to guarantee sufficient social distancing spacing for legislators.”

Over the last weekend, strict shutdowns, which require people to stay home except for essential trips, swept Southern California, much of the San Francisco Bay Area, and some of Central Valley.

According to the Sacramento Bee, those who dined at Sacramento’s Maydoon included Adrin Nazarian, D-West Toluca Lake; Chad Mayes, I-Rancho Mirage; Tasha Boerner Horvath, D-Encinitas; Marc Levine, D-Marin County; and Chris Ward, D-San Diego.

When questioned by the Sacramento Bee about the dinner, Nazarian responded, “Can we not have dinner?”

Fox 11 noted:

Boerner Horvath pulled her scarf up to cover her nose and left the table. Her chief of staff, Rob Charles, said in a phone call that the members had tested negative for COVID-19 and were following Sacramento County’s COVID-19 requirements.

According to Mayes, the rules are hard to follow. He “thought we were following all the rules because we were sitting outside.”

“Legislators, just like everybody else – I don’t want to start beating other people up – but they think they’re very unclear,” Mayes said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has been a large proponent for the use of face masks and social distancing, has implemented several coronavirus restrictions in the state.

As coronavirus cases surge in the state, Newsom said last week that he will impose a new stay-at-home order for areas where capacity at intensive care units falls below 15 percent.

Newsom has also faced scrutiny for ignoring his own government’s guidelines that limit the number of people who can attend a social gathering during the coronavirus pandemic when he attended a crowded dinner party, for which he later apologized.

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