London Breed slams San Francisco mask mandate, ‘fun police’ after nightclub trip

San Francisco Mayor London Breed was caught in clear violation of his city’s strict indoor mask mandate during a visit to the Black Cat in the Tenderloin last Thursday, and again defended his actions when speaking to reporters on Friday.

In its current form, the city’s health ordinance — which applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people — only allows masks to be removed “while actively eating or drinking.” He states: “People are encouraged to sit at a table or position themselves at a counter or fixed location while eating or drinking.”

Video shows a maskless race – neither seated at a table nor positioned at a stationary counter – standing and dancing at the nightclub with no food or drink in hand. She also posed for photos without wearing a mask and defended her actions, saying, “At the end of the day, everyone who comes here has to show proof of vaccination. That gives me a lot of reassurance.”

The city’s mask mandate does not contain an exemption for businesses requiring proof of vaccination to enter, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health has offered no timeline for when the mask mandate can be eased, even as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the city decline rapidly.

When Breed was requested by journalists about Friday’s breach, she again used the vaccine defense. “It’s sad that it’s even a story,” she said.

“From my perspective, I was there, eating and drinking, and sitting with my friends and everyone who came in there was vaccinated,” Breed said. “So the fact that we’ve turned this into a story about being maskless, no: I’m not going to sip and put on my mask, sip and put on my mask, sip and put on my mask, eat and put on my mask. While I’m eating and drinking, I’m going to keep my mask on. And yes, while we’re drinking, like everyone there, we all had a great time, all vaccinated.

To be clear: This is a story because Breed’s views run counter to the city’s mask mandate as written, which requires all individuals — vaccinated or not — to remove masks only indoors while “actively eating or drinking”.

She went on to say that asking individuals to wear masks between sips and shots is “unrealistic” and again cited vaccination when explaining why she didn’t wear a mask when taking pictures with people inside the night club.

“When I take a picture, like I do anyway or do an interview, yes I take off my mask when I take a picture,” she said. “I’m vaccinated. I don’t need to wear a mask to take a picture every time. I don’t want to.”

The city’s mask mandate as currently written would not allow masks to be removed while taking a photo indoors, whether a person is vaccinated or “unwilling.” The mayor’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment from SFGATE on whether Breed is calling on city health officials to relax the mandate.

“The message I want to get across is this: support our nightlife spots, support our restaurants, go out and have fun,” she said. “Make sure you’re vaccinated due to the requirements, but don’t feel like you have to be micro-managed about mask-wearing. We don’t need the fun police coming in and telling us what we should or shouldn’t We know what we need to do to protect ourselves.

Jerry C. Greiner