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Tasha Boerner Horvath
Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath has come under fire for dining with several other state legislators on Monday evening in Sacramento. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg
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Boerner Horvath, other state legislators dine outside together despite COVID-19 surge

REGION — Just hours after state legislators were sworn-in on Monday at the Golden 1 Center, five California state Assembly members dined together outside at a Sacramento restaurant, The Sacramento Bee reported on Tuesday.

Despite surging COVID-19 cases and stay-at-home orders for much of the state population, Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas), Adrin Nazarian (D-West Toluca Lake), Chad Mayes (I-Rancho Mirage), Marc Levine (D-Marin County) and Chris Ward (D-San Diego) dined together on an outdoor patio at Sacramento’s Maydoon restaurant.

Boerner Horvath represents California’s 76th Assembly District, which largely encompasses coastal North County, including Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Vista.

Elected officials across the state, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, have faced public criticism in recent weeks for violating state COVID-19 guidelines (namely avoiding multi-household gatherings) and contradicting their own calls for residents to stay home and refrain from public outings during the holiday season.

Specifically, Democrats’ Newsom and Breed were both pilloried after dining at Napa Valley’s French Laundry restaurant on separate occasions.

When a Sacramento Bee reporter approached the group and asked about their decision to dine together, Nazarian reportedly said, “Can we not have dinner?”

According to the Sac Bee, Boerner Horvath pulled up her scarf from around her neck to cover her face and left the table. In a phone call, her chief of staff Rob Charles told the newspaper the legislators were following Sacramento County’s COVID-19 requirements.

“They were dining outside, they were following the protocols, everyone tested negative for COVID-19,” Charles told the Sac Bee.

However, state health officials have repeatedly recommended people refrain from attending gatherings consisting of three or more separate households.

According to a FOX11 article, Mayes said he “thought we were following all the rules because we were sitting outside,” noting that the rules have been hard to follow.

“Legislators, just like everybody else — I don’t want to start beating other people up – but they think they’re very unclear,” Mayes said.

As of Dec. 9, San Diego County has reported at least 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 for eight consecutive days. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to make San Diego County’s $20 million Small Business Stimulus Grant program available to all businesses affected by COVID-19 safety restrictions, according to City News Service.

From staff and wire reports