LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger called on officials to alter the mask mandate after Mayor Eric Garcetti and Gov. Gavin Newsom were pictured mask-less with Laker legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson during the NFC Championship at SoFi Stadium.
"Let's do away with blanket COVID-19 masking policies — they don't make a difference when they're not consistently followed or enforced," Barger said in a statement. "We need to trust the public to make the best personal decisions for themselves based on their unique risks and circumstances."
Barger's call for change after many were seen at Sunday's NFC Championship game not adhering to the mask-wearing requirement for mega-events including Garcetti and Newsom. Other officials and celebrities such as San Francisco Mayor London Breed and actor Rob Lowe, were pictured not wearing masks while posing for photos with Johnson. However, some such as Garcetti and Lower can be seen holding masks in the photos.
Garcetti's office told City News Service that "the mayor was wearing his masks during the game and removed it for a brief moment to take a few photos. Newsom gave a similar statement and said he was "very judicious" about wearing his mask during the game and said he only removed it momentarily to take the photo.
"The rest of the time I wore it, as we all should," said Newsom who also said he was "very judicious" wearing his mask.
Barger said that she has similarly done the same when taking photos.
"I believe the governor when he said he took it off for the pictures and then put it back on," said Barger. "I've been there, done that."
Barger also pointed to the inconsistent adherence and enforcement during the game.
"There's not an outcry by Public Health this morning saying 'Oh my God the sky is falling the numbers are going to go up," she said. "It was radio silence which tells me they recognize it should be more of a strong recommendation which I strongly recommend."
The Department Of Public Health's masking policy, which is made with the guidance of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, mandates attendees of mega-events to wear masks in all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings and businesses unless they are actively eating or drinking, alone in a separate space, showering, swimming or receiving personal car services.
Outdoor events with more than 5,000 attendees are classified as mega-events.
Some residents called for politicians to reverse the state's school mask mandate after the photos of mask-less officials circulated social media outlets. Barger said that she has been slammed with emails and phone calls from parents calling for the mandate to be repealed.
"They are saying we are telling 5-year-olds you have to wear a mask but you can go to a football game and you don't have to — I get it," she said. "I think people want clarity and consistency and I really do believe that we all can use common sense with how it relates to and live with this virus."
On Monday, Newsom continued to encourage the public to wear masks but said the state will announce its "endemic plan" on practices for the state to live with the virus long-term.
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