The mayor of Milpitas, and a city council member, are under fire for attending an in-person Council meeting and other recent public events without telling anyone they’d been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
The controversy has some calling for changes to the council meeting -- they want to go virtual.
Mayor Rich Tran seemed upbeat at the in-person city council meeting Tuesday, but his presence is being harshly criticized after it was revealed, in online posts and conversations first reported by the Mercury News, that Tran and council member Evelyn Chua had been at a local bar now rampant with COVID cases.
It turns out the mayor knew before the meeting that he had been in close contact with a COVID-positive person, but did not tell anyone, including Chua or other councilmembers.
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“The moment we found out about it, we knew that a lot of steps had to be taken to ensure that this isn’t going to happen again,” said council member Anthony Phan.
The mayor and councilwoman were at The G bar last Thursday for a public event and a Facebook post from the bar reported 15 COVID cases since then among staff and patrons. Including, according to the post, some who mingled directly with the two city officials at their event.
The owners said Friday that they are in quarantine and the bar will remain closed longer than the posted date of August 20.
NBC Bay Area reached out to Mayor Tran and he said he is uncomfortable talking about private health matters.But did give a statement emphasizing he tested negative before and after the council meeting adding, ‘if anyone cares, I’m also vaccinated.”
Councilman Phan is not reassured.
“In regards to protocol, in regards to revisiting what we could’ve done about it, I think the safest precaution we can take is to not have these in-person meetings at all,” he said.
Phan said he fully expects the council to address the mayor’s actions and changes in protocol in a future virtual meeting.