(The Hill) – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said that he “holds his breath” while posing for photos after he received backlash for not wearing a mask in series of pictures taken at SoFi Stadium.
Several California Democrats, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, Garcetti and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, were seen without masks in a series of photos taken at the NFL’s NFC championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson shared the photos to his Twitter account.
However, Twitter users quickly noticed that no one in the photos was sporting a mask, despite a Los Angeles County mandate requiring that people wear masks at indoor events except when they are actively eating or drinking, The Washington Post reports.
Breed also shared a maskless selfie from the game on her Twitter account.
But Garcetti claimed that he wore his mask throughout the game and held his breath when he had it off for photos.
“I wore my mask the entire game and when people asked for a photograph, I hold my breath and I put [my mask] here and people could see that,” Garcetti said at a press conference, holding up his mask. “There’s a zero percent chance of infection from that.”
Newsom and Breed have faced criticism for breeching COVID-19 restrictions in the past, according to the Post; in November 2020, before vaccines were readily available to the public, the duo took a trip to Napa Valley for a birthday event at the French Laundry, an upscale restaurant.
California currently has a higher seven-day average COVID-19 case rate than the United States at large, according to the Post’s COVID-19 tracker.