Tag: Mayor

Mayor offers apology for Thanksgiving travel after urging residents to stay home

The mayor of Denver apologized for traveling on Wednesday after having urged residents to stay home for Thanksgiving as COVID-19 cases surge.



Michael Hancock wearing a suit and tie: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock makes a point during a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver.


© David Zalubowski/AP, File
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock makes a point during a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver.

On Wednesday, Mayor Michael B. Hancock headed to Mississippi to join his wife and daughter there, he said.

MORE: Potential COVID-19 surge following Thanksgiving could cause ‘humanitarian crisis,’ experts warn

Earlier that day, the mayor told Denver ABC affiliate KMGH that during the holiday, “if you can, remain in your household. If you can, stay with those in your household.” If you choose to travel, he said to “do what we’ve always been asking throughout the entire experience: Wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands.”



Michael Hancock wearing a suit and tie: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock makes a point during a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver.


© David Zalubowski/AP, File
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock makes a point during a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver.

He also advised residents to avoid travel “if you can” and to host virtual gatherings this Thanksgiving in a social media post on Wednesday.

Hancock did not mention his own plans to travel. In his mea culpa, the mayor said he should have.

“I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel,” he said in a statement. “I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration. What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver.”

The news of Hancock’s travels was met with calls of hypocrisy on Twitter. The mayor said he recognized that many people were “disappointed” by his decision.

“As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others, I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel,” he said. “I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.”



a man wearing a suit and tie: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock listens as Colorado Rep. Alec Garnett, D-Denver, makes a point during a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver.


© David Zalubowski/AP, File
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock listens as Colorado Rep. Alec Garnett, D-Denver, makes a point during a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver.

Denver County has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the seven-day moving average of new cases reaching a peak of 728 on Nov. 21, county data shows. The county is in the state’s “level red” risk category, indicating a 14-day average positivity rate of between 10% and 15%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Denver mayor apologizes for Thanksgiving travel plan

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is asking for forgiveness after coming under fire for his upcoming holiday plans.



Michael Hancock wearing a suit and tie: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock makes a point during a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver. Colorado lawmakers plan to draw up a package of financial aid for residents who have become unemployed because of the coronavirus during a special session set to convene at the end of the month. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


© David Zalubowski/AP
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock makes a point during a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver. Colorado lawmakers plan to draw up a package of financial aid for residents who have become unemployed because of the coronavirus during a special session set to convene at the end of the month. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Hours after encouraging Denver residents to avoid Thanksgiving travel, the city’s mayor office confirmed he is flying to Mississippi to spend the holiday with his daughter and wife, according to his office.

“I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone,” Hancock said in a statement released by his office. “As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others, I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel. I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.”

The apology comes after he posted a tweet on Wednesday morning stating that avoiding travel is a way to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The city also encouraged residents to only host Thanksgiving dinners with members of their immediate household.

In a statement previously sent to CNN, Hancock’s spokesperson, Mike Strott, that Hancock “will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine” upon his return to Denver.

According to the latest data provided by the city’s health department, there are 33,971 total reported cases of Covid-19 in Denver since the start of the pandemic.

Hancock isn’t the only local leader who’s not heeded their own advice.

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom received backlash after he and his wife attended a birthday party at the French Laundry restaurant with a dozen others from several different households despite state health guidelines recommending against such gatherings amid a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Newsom apologized for his attendance, acknowledging that he should be practicing what he preaches.

“I made a bad mistake,” Newsom said. “Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up, walked back to my car and drove home.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo canceled his plans after facing criticism for planning to have a holiday meal with his 86-year-old mother and two of his daughters amid escalating numbers of Covid-19 cases.

The governor had previously warned New Yorkers who plan on holding Thanksgiving celebrations as usual that it was dangerous given that the virus can spread in large indoor gatherings.

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Denver Mayor Flies to Texas for Thanksgiving After Urging City Residents to Avoid Travel Due to COVID



Michael Hancock wearing a suit and tie: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock participates in a panel discussion during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's 'Infrastructure Week' program May 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. Hancock boarded a fight on Wednesday despite warning Denver residents to avoid traveling over Thanksgiving.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock participates in a panel discussion during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Infrastructure Week’ program May 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. Hancock boarded a fight on Wednesday despite warning Denver residents to avoid traveling over Thanksgiving.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock boarded a flight to Houston on Wednesday after urging city residents to avoid travel due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Colorado.

Moments before boarding the plane to Texas, Hancock tweeted “avoid travel, if you can,” “stay home as much as you can,” and “host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners” in a Thanksgiving post about slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

His spokeswoman confirmed to NBC affiliate KUSA on Wednesday that the mayor was traveling to visit his daughter in Mississippi, and that his wife was already there.

Hancock has said his family will be foregoing a large gathering this Thanksgiving, writing in an email to city staff that for his family, coronavirus precautions “means cancelling our traditional gathering of our extended family.”

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“As he has shared, the Mayor is not hosting his traditional large family dinner this year, but instead traveling alone to join his wife and daughter where the three of them will celebrate Thanksgiving at her residence instead of having them travel back to Denver,” the mayor’s spokesperson told KUSA.

Hancock’s assistant advised that he would be out of office from Wednesday to Friday, according to an email obtained by the network.

In an email to city staff, Hancock wrote: “As the holidays approach, we all long to be with our families with person, but with the continued rise in cases, I’m urging you to refrain from travel this Thanksgiving holiday.”

He also said anyone who travels out of state for the weekend should self-isolate for 14 days, including himself.

“Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine,” the mayor’s spokesperson said.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Denver. Last week, the city entered Colorado’s Level Red severe risk category. According to Denver Public Health, the city has reported 33,971 confirmed cases and 494 deaths as of Wednesday.

At a news conference with Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Hancock said: “We need everyone to stay home.”

During a Tuesday briefing, Polis said that one in 41 Coloradans is currently infected with COVID-19, the highest figure the state has seen since the pandemic began in March.

Hancock is the latest public official to face backlash for traveling ahead of Thanksgiving despite encouraging constituents to do the opposite.

Earlier this week, New York

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Denver mayor flies to Mississippi for Thanksgiving after advising against travel

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D) flew to Mississippi on Wednesday for Thanksgiving after telling people to avoid travel if possible, The Denver Post reported.



a large green field with a city in the background: coronavirus COVID-19 community spread denver recreational marijuana liquor stores stay at home order mayor hancock


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coronavirus COVID-19 community spread denver recreational marijuana liquor stores stay at home order mayor hancock

Mike Strott, a spokesman for Hancock’s office, said there was no contradiction between the mayor’s trip and his advice, noting that Hancock will spend the holiday with only his wife and one of his daughters. Hancock ordinarily hosts up to 50 members of his family, according to the newspaper.

“(Hancock) has told people to rethink their Thanksgiving plans. He has also said that if you do travel to follow health and safety guidelines and the mayor will still follow health and safety guidelines upon his return,” Strott told the newspaper.

Strott said the mayor intended to “follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine” upon returning to Denver.

Hancock also tweeted Wednesday that Denverites should “avoid travel, if you can” and was met with a “ratio” of 60 likes versus over 600 replies.

Like numerous other state and local officials, Hancock has warned against large holiday gatherings, saying in November that while “we’re not going to sit here and tell you that Thanksgiving is canceled in Denver,” he wanted “to urge everyone to think differently about Thanksgiving this year,” according to the Denver Channel.

“And after the meal, as we’re gonna do, Zoom with your extended family – all your friends, everyone that you meet, and tell them that you look forward to seeing them real soon, and that maybe next year, maybe next year, we can all be together again,” Hancock added.

Denver County has seen a total of 33,971 coronavirus cases and 510 deaths as of Wednesday. Colorado overall has seen 208,000 cases and 2,868 deaths.

Hancock’s travel came shortly after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) was heavily criticized for attending a dinner party, for which he later apologized, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said his mother and two of his adult daughters would travel to Albany for Thanksgiving.

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Mayor Caldwell signs vacation rental agreement with Expedia, Airbnb – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather

“We know there are bad actors out there, and this will help us crack down on them. While this is not a panacea, it’s a step forward,” said Mayor Caldwell. “For our residents who depend on this income, we want to provide an avenue for people to list their rentals in a legal, and transparent manner. This collaboration will also provide a step forward for effective enforcement of illegal vacation rentals, and ensures that our neighborhoods remain neighborhoods for local families.”

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New York City mayor urges people to avoid travel this Thanksgiving

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged people to avoid traveling this Thanksgiving and celebrate with loved ones virtually — as the city and surrounding areas battle a continued rise in COVID-19 cases. 

He told people who are traveling to do so safely and follow the rules, and warned of financial penalties for violations.

De Blasio spoke as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo similarly urged caution. “This holiday season, we have to be smarter and different than we’ve handled past holiday seasons, because it’s not a normal holiday season,” Cuomo said Tuesday at a press conference.

The governor announced that COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state are up 128% in three weeks. He said Monday an emergency facility will open on Staten Island for COVID-19 patients at the request of hospitals in the area seeing rising admissions.

“Staten Island has such an issue that it has triggered a hospital capacity issue. And the hospitals have contacted us and they say they need emergency beds on Staten Island,” Cuomo said, according to CBS New York. “Remember when we had to set up field hospitals, emergency hospitals for additional capacity? Well, that’s what we have to do on Staten Island.”

The governor also announced updated COVID-19 micro-cluster zones across the state that establish some areas, including Upper Manhattan, as yellow zones, and move others from yellow to orange. 

Yellow means restaurants must close at 10 p.m. An orange zone means high risk, so non-essential businesses close. Dining moves to outdoor only and mass gatherings are limited to 10 people. 

It’s possible some areas on Staten Island could even move into a red zone, which means essential businesses only. 

New York City schools shut down last week after the city reached a 3% positivity rate. 

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Midvale mayor fights plan to use hotel for homeless winter overflow

MIDVALE — Already faced with Utah’s first heavy snowfall, Salt Lake County homeless officials this week had hoped to finalize details on two facilities to help house the homeless as part of a winter overflow plan.

But then, Midvale Mayor Robert Hale publicly voiced opposition to using a hotel — the La Quinta Inn east of the Midvale Family Family Shelter on 7200 South — as part of that plan.

“What can we do to request a change?” Hale asked during the State Homeless Coordinating Committee meeting on Tuesday. State officials, in response, told him the decision was up to the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness.

The coalition has spent months trying to come up with a solution to bring the homeless camping on the streets out of the cold, after Salt Lake City leaders promised last year’s winter shelter, the Sugar House Temporary Shelter, would be just that — temporary. It shuttered in April.

Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has further strained Utah’s homeless system, putting pressure on homeless resource centers’ ability to fill their beds to capacity while keeping clients safe and socially distant. Salt Lake County has also executed contracts with other hotels to house homeless who are at “high-risk” to COVID-19.

But Hale, in an interview with the Deseret News on Wednesday, said the small, 6-square-mile city of Midvale can’t take any more impacts from homelessness, already the host of the 300-bed Midvale Family Shelter just across I-15. Another 140 homeless adults housed in the hotel, Hale said, would put too much pressure on Midvale’s already strained police resources.

“It’s not that I dislike the homeless. I feel for them. I love them as a brother,” Hale said, explaining how he and his wife on multiple occasions have helped house and feed homeless individuals under their own roof. “But when the county drops a bombshell on us of putting up to 140 homeless into a motel … it’s going to overwhelm our little city.”

Hale said if that many more homeless individuals are housed in Midvale, “it’s going to bring additional issues that we are not able to provide safety from.” He said that area around the La Quinta, including the nearby Motel 6, is already a “crime hotspot” that “keeps our police very busy.”

Jean Hill, co-chair of the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, said the Midvale mayor had raised some concerns during a walk-through of the La Quinta a week ago, but she was caught off guard by his public opposition.

“We thought we addressed those concerns,” she said.

Hill said the coalition “carefully reviewed” eight sites in multiple cities using a series of criteria created based on experiences last winter.

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DC mayor disregarded own COVID restrictions to attend Biden victory speech, defends ‘essential travel’

Despite Delaware being on District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser’s list of high-risk states, the mayor and her staff attended President-elect Joe Biden’s victory speech in Delaware Saturday, reportedly defending the trip as “essential travel.”

Bowser’s justification for her travel was first reported by Mark Segraves of WRC, the NBC-owned station in Washington D.C., who quoted one of her staff members as saying the trip was “essential travel” and “excepted under Mayor’s order.”

Segraves quoted Bowser’s Chief of Staff John J. Falicchio who said he, the mayor, and her senior advisers met with Symone Sanders, a campaign adviser for Biden. 

Delaware was among the states deemed “high-risk” in a list released by Mayor Bowser’s office just last week.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, right, standing next to Metropolitan Police Department chief Peter Newsham, left, speaks during a news conference in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. 

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, right, standing next to Metropolitan Police Department chief Peter Newsham, left, speaks during a news conference in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. 
(AP)

The guidelines state that “anyone coming into Washington, DC from a high-risk state (within the prior 14 days) who was traveling for non-essential activities will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their arrival in the district.”

It further states that “individuals traveling from high-risk states after essential travel or arriving in the District for essential travel are required to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and, if they show signs or experience symptoms of COVID-19, they are to self-quarantine and seek medical advice or testing.”

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It wasn’t immediately clear if Mayor Bowser or the staff members who accompanied her to Biden’s victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday were abiding by their own quarantine rules. Her office has not responded to Fox News’ request for comment.

The mayor has also been mum on the thousands of Americans who celebrated in the streets over the weekend following Biden’s presidential victory. Countless images have emerged of participants packed should-to-shoulder in close quarters. Many – though not all – appeared to be wearing masks, but very few were abiding by social distancing as recommended for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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On Sunday, Mayor Bowser encouraged those who voted in the 2020 presidential election to get tested for COVID-19, but did not recommend abiding by social distancing rules to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.  

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Coronavirus: Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti shuts down beach parking, recreation facilities due to ‘too many people packing beaches, trails and parks’

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Sunday night he was shutting down parking at city beaches and closing sports recreation facilities in Los Angeles County amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Twitter, Mayor Garcetti said the decision came after officials saw “too many people packing beaches, trails and parks” over the first weekend of the “Safer at Home” order issued on Thursday.

“This is serious. Stay at home and save lives,” the Tweet said in part.

WATCH: Mayor Garcetti announces ‘Safer at Home’ restrictions on businesses, activities (Full statement)

The announcement comes after officials announced Saturday that all sports and recreation areas at Los Angeles County parks will be closed until further notice amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation said the decision was made as an extra precaution in response to COVID-19.

The closure affects playgrounds, fitness equipment areas, courts, skate parks, multi-use fields, pickleball courts, golf courses and lawn bowling.

Local and state officials continue to push for social distancing during the “Safer at Home” order issued last week.

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