San Jose Mayor Admits Breaking COVID Guidelines With Family Thanksgiving Meal

The mayor of San Jose has apologized for breaking COVID-19 guidelines by celebrating Thanksgiving with extended family members after his team originally said he would be at home.

Mayor Sam Liccardo admitted that he had an outdoor Thanksgiving meal at his parents' home along with his wife and four other members of his family, meaning a total of five households were present.

This month California ordered that social gatherings be limited to a maximum of three. San Jose is listed in California's Purple Tier meaning the county has more than seven cases per 100,000 people of the virus and that all gatherings must also be held outside.

NBC first reported that Liccardo celebrated Thanksgiving with his elderly parents at their Saratoga house along with an unknown group of people.

When previously asked, the mayor's press team said Liccardo was "staying home" with his immediate family. The day after Thanksgiving, the mayor's office told NBC that a spokesperson "misspoke" and Liccardo was with family at his parents' home.

In a statement, Liccardo confirmed that he and his wife Jessica attended his parent's house for an outdoor dinner on their backyard patio, along with his sister-in-law.

Liccardo said those five family, along with his brother, has frequently dined over the past few months "as a stable group of three households."

For the Thanksgiving meal, Liccardo said his brother arrived late and dined separately. One of Liccardo's sisters also joined, along with her son and daughter-in-law, also dined with the group.

"In summary, eight of us representing five households sat around three distanced tables in our own family groups on the back patio, and we wore masks when not eating," Liccardo said.

"I understand that the state regulations, issued on November 13th, limit the number of households at a private gathering to three.

"I apologize for my decision to gather contrary to state rules, by attending this Thanksgiving meal with my family. I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them. I commit to do better."

The day before Thanksgiving, Liccardo sent a tweet saying how the COVID-19 cases in the area are spiking because people were letting their "guard down" and not wearing masks with family and friends.

"Let's cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe," he added.

California Governor Gavin Newsom was also recently criticized after he was found to have attended a birthday dinner with at least a dozen people from multiple households at The French Laundry restaurant on November 6.

Newsom said he only realized the size of the group gathered around the outdoor table after he sat down.

"I made a bad mistake," he said. "Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove back to my house. Instead, I chose to sit there with my wife and a number of other couples that were outside the household."

San Jose
Mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo is seen backstage at the Watermark Conference for Women 2018 at San Jose Convention Center on February 23, 2018 in San Jose, California. Liccardo has apologized for breaking COVID-19 guidelines by celebrating Thanksgiving with extended family members. Marla Aufmuth//Getty