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Newsom Holds Indoor Event at Restaurant Barred From Offering Indoor Dining

California governor facing recall effort over handling of coronavirus

• February 24, 2021 1:00 pm

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California governor Gavin Newsom held an indoor bill-signing ceremony at a restaurant that is unable to offer indoor dining under the Democrat's coronavirus restrictions.

Newsom signed a $7.6 billion relief package Tuesday at Solomon's Deli, a Sacramento-based eatery located just steps from the state capitol. While the Democrat addressed reporters maskless from inside the deli, Sacramento County restaurants are at least two weeks away from being allowed to reopen for indoor dining. Newsom also chose to hold the event indoors despite the fact that Solomon's advertises outdoor seating and a heated patio. Sacramento residents enjoyed sunny weather with temperatures near 60 degrees during the event.

This is not the first time Newsom has sidestepped his own pandemic restrictions in recent months. The Democrat in November attended a lobbyist-filled birthday party at the posh French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley. Newsom ignored social-distancing guidelines and did not wear a mask in photographs of the event, a violation of his own coronavirus rules. The incident helped fuel an ongoing recall effort against the incumbent governor, with more than 440,000 petition signatures coming in the one-month period that followed the party.

A spokesman for former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer (R.) told the Washington Free Beacon that Newsom's indoor ceremony shows "how tone deaf he is to the problems facing millions of Californians." Faulconer launched a bid to challenge Newsom in early February amid an ongoing campaign to recall the Democrat.

"While schools and businesses remain closed across the state, Newsom held an indoor presser with journalists at a restaurant in a county where indoor dining isn't even available," Faulconer campaign communications director John Burke said. "Just like his French Laundry debacle, this is another case of Newsom refusing to abide by his own rules."

Newsom's office did not return a request for comment.

Indoor dining is still banned in most California counties under Newsom's rules. In order to reopen, a county must see fewer than seven daily new cases per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks, as well as a positivity rate under 8 percent. Sacramento County failed to meet the threshold on Tuesday. Some restaurant owners in the state have responded by openly defying the ban, amassing thousands of dollars of fines in the process.

Newsom touted his relief package to reporters at the Tuesday event, saying that the legislation will "do better to help support these small businesses through this very difficult and trying time." The bill includes $600 stimulus checks for millions of California residents, including those who are in the country illegally.

The deadline for the recall petition is March 17.