Legislators from California seemingly ignored the strict travel advisory during the COVID-19 pandemic as coronavirus cases surge nationwide and travelled to Maui for the Independent Voter Project’s annual policy conference.
More than half a dozen California lawmakers are among the 50 people attending a policy conference at the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, with some legislators’ travel expenses picked up by the hosts. The four-day conference, at which panel participants discuss various issues including how to reopen states safely amid COVID-19, began Monday.
The state travel advisory urges people to stay close to home and, if they do leave California, to self-quarantine for two weeks when they return.
On Friday, Newsom urged Californians not to travel out of state and to quarantine if they did so.
Dan Howle, the chairman and executive director of the Independent Voter Project, said Tuesday that Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) was the only California legislator in attendance to give him permission to confirm her presence at the conference.
Politico reports that Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) sent a tweet on Sunday that was tagged as coming from Kihei, Hawaii, although her office did not respond to a request to confirm she is attending the conference.
Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) reported in a recent campaign finance report that he bought tickets for a flight to Hawaii on Monday to attend a conference, but his representatives did not confirm attendance.
Under Hawaii’s Safe Travels program, established Oct. 15, those attending the conference must provide Hawaii government health officials and the hotel proof of a negative coronavirus test taken less than 72 hours from arrival in Hawaii, Howle said.
The criticism has begun:
Where is the outrage in the national media? This is completely hysterical…you can’t make this crap up. California lawmakers head to Maui with lobbyists despite pandemic, travel warnings https://t.co/o4gHBJ3Zk4
— Adam Housley (@adamhousley) November 17, 2020
COVID-19 has squashed most holiday and vacation plans this year amid travel restrictions and quarantine recommendations.
Yet some CA lawmakers have traveled to Maui this week for the Independent Voter Project’s annual policy conference.https://t.co/PAoZuImOLy
— Hannah Wiley (@hannahcwiley) November 17, 2020
“We believe Californians will do the right thing,” said California health secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly of California’s strict travel advisory, explaining why the state is not under a mandatory quarantine.
Gov. Gavin Newsom was criticized last week for attending a birthday celebration at French Laundry in Napa County. The party reportedly had 12 or more people from different households, a type of gathering Newsom has been imploring Californians to avoid.
The governor later issued a statement saying, “While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner.”