Barger urges rethinking of mandate – San Bernardino Sun

One day after Mayor Eric Garcetti and Gov. Gavin Newsom were caught posing for mask-less photos inside SoFi Stadium, a Los Angeles County Supervisor called on Monday, Jan. 31 for state and local health officials to reevaluate COVID-19 mask mandates, saying it should be up to the individual to decide when to wear one.

“Let’s do away with blanket COVID-19 masking policies — they don’t make a difference when they’re not consistently followed or enforced. We need to trust the public to make the best personal decisions for themselves based on their unique risks and circumstances,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement.

Barger pointed to Sunday’s NFC Championship game at SoFi Stadium, noting there was inconsistent adherence to the mask-wearing requirement.

Most notably, Laker legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson on Sunday night posted a series of photos on Twitter taken that day at SoFi Stadium with mask-less officials and celebrities, including Garcetti, Newsom, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and actor Rob Lowe. Some people in the photos with Johnson —including Garcetti and Lowe — can be seen holding a mask in the photos.

The photos sparked outrage from some critics who accused the officials of hypocrisy when the public is being told to follow state and county mask mandates. Los Angeles County requires all attendees to wear masks at outdoor mega-events, like football games at SoFi Stadium. The state’s mask mandate requires people to wear masks at indoor areas of outdoor mega-events.

Garcetti’s office told City News Service, “The mayor was wearing his mask during the game and removed it for a brief moment to take a few photos.”

Newsom similarly said at an unrelated news conference in Los Angeles Monday that he was “very judicious” about wearing his mask at the game, and insisted he had his mask in his other hand when the photo with Johnson was taken.

He said he only took the mask off momentarily to take the photo.

“The rest of the time I wore it, as we all should,” said Newsom.

Jessica Millan Patterson, chair of the state Republican Party, was unimpressed by the explanations, saying in a statement, “While they force California children to wear masks in school, Gavin Newsom and friends get to enjoy a mask-free night of football in a packed stadium. His blatant and insulting disregard for his own COVID rules is a crystal-clear sign that it’s time for his Draconian policies and state of emergency to go.”

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