Governor Gavin Newsom's legion of Twitter critics have come out with their virtual pitchforks again after he was photographed maskless at SoFi Stadium on Sunday.
Newsom was seen in an indoor-outdoor box at the stadium alongside SF Mayor London Breed and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (and Magic Johnson), enjoying the NFC Championship game between the 49ers and the Rams without wearing a mask — despite rules about mask wearing at the stadium.
As you can imagine, after a movement to recall Newsom last year was largely motivated by his misguided November 2020 visit to the French Laundry with a group of still unvaccinated friends, without masks, Twitterers who already hate Newsom are coming after him. And a lot of them are parents — probably from more Republican parts of SoCal, but who knows — decrying the fact that schoolchildren are still being forced to wear masks all day at school.
California State Senator Melissa Melendez (R-Riverside) was among those posting to Twitter about the photos — which originally seem to have appeared on Magic Johnson's Instagram account.
"Toddlers are being forced to wear masks all day long in school," Melendez writes. "Maybe one day they'll be governor or the mayor of L.A. and they won't have to follow the rules they impose on others."
"Love your gorgeous maskless face!" writes Twitterer @hamill_law. "Unmask my children now please. My toddler, 5yr old, and 7 yr old are going to school in LA County tomorrow and will be sent home if they unmask like this, even outside."
Toddlers are being forced to wear masks all day long in school. Maybe one day they’ll be governor or the mayor of LA and they won’t have the follow the rules they impose on others. pic.twitter.com/YGJDZeBxGA— Senator Melissa Melendez (@senatormelendez) January 31, 2022
@GavinNewsom did you enjoy #SFvsLAR tonight at @SoFiStadium? Love your gorgeous maskless face! Unmask my children now please. My toddler, 5yr old, and 7 yr old are going to school in LA County tomorrow and will be sent home if they unmask like this, even outside. pic.twitter.com/ChUgV3yZTK— Hamill Law (@hamill_law) January 31, 2022
Newsom hasn't commented about this latest controversy, if it can be called that. There were, clearly, many people at the stadium without masks — and many people across the state continue enjoying drinks and meals in public places without masks on, in many contexts.
But conservatives especially have always hated the idea of forcing children to wear masks — even though there would be widespread revolt from teachers' unions if the masks suddenly came off, especially with many young children who are still not vaccinated, and their kids wouldn't have classes to go to if the teachers were on strike. So yeah! Not really up to Newsom.
London Breed has received her share of flack for being maskless in public in the past six months — first when she was videotaped dancing in a small Tenderloin nightclub in September and then again at Great Northern on Thanksgiving night. Because of San Francisco's strict mask mandates throughout the pandemic, Breed was criticized both for the apparent transgression and for not being contrite afterwards — and even Trevor Noah called her out on The Daily Show.
In San Francisco, the mask rules are changing once again on Tuesday, February 1, as we learned last week. Masks can come off indoors for "stable cohorts," and at gyms and offices where everyone is both vaccinated and boosted. Proof of third "booster" shots — experts have clarified that this is really just the third shot in what would have likely been a three-shot regimen had there been time to study it thoroughly — is required for everyone over age 16 attending mega-events indoors, such as at the Chase Center, starting Tuesday. That same proof will be required of kids aged 12-15 starting March 1.