San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, speaking exclusively to the NBC Bay Investigative Unit, revealed he was unaware state health guidelines prohibited the very type of gathering he attended with relatives on Thanksgiving.
"There's no question that it was on me to know better," Liccardo said. "The rules are there to save lives."
San Jose Mayor Spent Thanksgiving with 7 Relatives from 5 Households
Liccardo spent the holiday dinning outside his parents' home in Saratoga with a total of seven other family members from five different households. The latest guidance from the California Department of Public Health, however, prohibits outdoor gatherings comprised of more than three households. Liccardo said he didn't learn of those rules until Monday -- the same day NBC Bay Area broke news of the dinner and the possible skirting of health protocols.
After initially declining to offer any details about the event, including the number of people and households present, Liccardo issued a statement on Tuesday apologizing for his actions and finally revealed the number of relatives present at the gathering.
"I should have known that there was a prohibition on more than three households," Liccardo told NBC Bay Area. "What I learned really, literally, the day before I released the public statement, and what I should have known was that, that prohibition was not merely a recommendation, it was a prohibition. And so that's on me."
Liccardo Criticized on Social Media after Failing to Follow Health Guidelines
In the wake of NBC Bay Area's initial report about Liccardo's dinner, many took to social media to voice their frustration and disappointment in the mayor's actions.
"Wouldn’t it be great if our politicians would stop living by 'Do as I say Not as I do,' wrote @iSkaTatanka on Twitter.
Twitter user @thefutebolista wrote, "remember these hypocrites' names and actions for next election."
Also on Twitter, @AGuyNamedNam wrote, "If our officials won't follow guidelines, no one will."
'I'm Going to do Better,' Liccardo Promised
The mayor said he understands the criticism and the difficulty in adhering to a litany of rules and restrictions aimed at protecting people from a global health crisis.
"I know it's hard for a lot of folks to follow these rules," Liccardo said. "I'm the one who broke them, so I know how tough it is."
In admitting to violating state health protocols designed to slow the spread of Covid-19, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo vowed "to do better" and brushed aside the idea his actions may influence others to ignore health guidelines.
"Hopefully, my mistake will save lives," Liccardo said. "By being very clear about the fact that I own my mistake, hopefully others will appreciate the importance of following those rules."
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