SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, are under scrutiny for attending a birthday party with more than a dozen people in Napa County last week.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Newsoms on Nov. 6 attended the 50th birthday party of political adviser Jason Kinney, a partner at the lobbying firm Axiom Advisors. The celebration was reportedly held at the famed French Laundry restaurant in Yountville.

A spokesman for the governor initially defended the outing to the Chronicle, but in a later statement, Newsom acknowledged it was a mistake.

"While our family followed the restaurant's health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner," the governor said in a statement.

Cries of "hypocrite" and "do as I say, not as I do," quickly spread across social media.

The CA GOP was quick to criticize Newsom for the party, saying his "hypocrisy knows no bounds."

"There are hundreds of small businesses, and thousands of workers and parents in my district that see this and just shake their heads," tweeted Republican Suzette Valladares, who was recently elected to the California Assembly.

The news broke as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state.

On Friday morning, California joined Oregon and Washington in asking residents to cancel nonessential out-of-state travel asking those who do travel to quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health on Oct. 9 advises again gatherings that included more than three households.

Napa County is currently ranked as a moderate risk for transmission of coronavirus, according to the state's tiered reopening model. Under the orange category, Napa County restaurants can open indoors with modifications. Restaurants are restricted to 50% of their maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer.

California's two-week positivity rate for COVID-19 dipped to 2.5% in October, but has risen in recent weeks to 4%. As of Friday, the state has nearly 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, resulting in 18,137 deaths.


(c)2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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