Magic Johnson and California Gov. Gavin Newsom during the NFC Championship Game
Magic Johnson and California Gov. Gavin Newsom during the NFC Championship Game at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium.
COVID Today

Newsom, S.F. and L.A. mayors get blowback for maskless photos with Magic Johnson at 49ers-Rams game

The group was attending the game that saw the Los Angeles Rams defeat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are facing criticism after they were photographed Sunday without face masks at the NFC Championship Game at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium.

“Hanging out at SoFi Stadium today!” former Laker Earvin “Magic” Johnson wrote in a tweet showcasing the maskless celebs, who also included other politicians and actor Rob Lowe, among others.

The group was attending the game that saw the Los Angeles Rams defeat the San Francisco 49ers and advance to the Super Bowl.

The post was met with swift backlash from commenters noting that California’s universal mask mandate requires residents to wear face masks in all indoor public spaces regardless of vaccine status. Earlier this month, state officials extended the mask mandate through Feb. 15 amid surging cases of COVID-19.

Los Angeles County also requires all people attending large indoor and outdoor events to wear face masks, except when eating and drinking, as does SoFi Stadium.

“Masks can only be removed to actively eat or drink, after which they must be immediately put back on,” the stadium’s mask policy states.

Representatives for Newsom, Garcetti and Breed did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

Presented by Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente has partnered with systems change agency SupplyBank.org to disperse donations of sanitizing wipes, N95...

State Sen. Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) was among those who expressed concern about the photos.

“Toddlers are being forced to wear masks all day long in school,” she wrote on Twitter. “Maybe one day they’ll be governor or the mayor of LA and they won’t have the follow the rules they impose on others.”

Others called it an example of “rules for thee, but not for me.”

Newsom and Breed have previously come under fire for appearing to flout face mask mandates, with Breed in September defending herself after being caught on video without a face mask in a San Francisco jazz bar and nightclub.

In November 2020, now-infamous pictures surfaced of Newsom without a face mask at a dinner party at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa. The governor later apologized.

Despite the haters, not everyone was upset by the photos. Some commenters noted that the group appears to be in a private, open-air suite. Others pointed out that several people, including Garcetti, are holding their masks in their hands, indicating they might have removed the face covering for the photos.

Officials at SoFi Stadium, which will host the Super Bowl on Feb. 13, said last week that all spectators watching the game will be given KN95 masks upon arrival.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.