The mayor of Denver, Colo. is traveling out-of-state to celebrate Thanksgiving, after issuing warnings that people should stay at home and only spend the holiday with people living in their household, if possible.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Michael Hancock confirmed to 9News that he had boarded a flight to Houston on Wednesday to visit his daughter in Mississippi, and that his wife is already there. An email obtained by the news station revealed the mayor would be out of the office from Wednesday to Friday.
Roughly 30 minutes before the flight, the mayor’s twitter account urged people to “avoid travel, if you can” and to “host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners” to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Pass the potatoes, not COVID.
🏘️Stay home as much as you can, especially if you're sick.
💻Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners.
❌Avoid travel, if you can.
🍲Order your holiday meal from a local eatery.
🎁Shop online with a small business for #BlackFriday. pic.twitter.com/acQpWs2Ism
— Michael B. Hancock 🎄 (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020
“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 spokesperson said. “Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine.”
Hancock cautioned city staff in an email on November 18 to refrain from traveling due to the surge in coronavirus cases.
“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 wrote. “For my family that means cancelling our traditional gathering of our extended family.”
He added that staffers who travel out of state would have to quarantine for 14 days and that employees who can’t work from home would need to use their paid time off for the leave.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Tuesday said that one in 41 Coloradans is currently infectious with COVID-19, the highest level since the pandemic began. There have been 33,971 total coronavirus cases in Denver and 494 deaths.
Hancock becomes the latest public official to face public backlash over a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality toward the virus. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sparked outcry earlier this week when he revealed he planned to spend Thanksgiving with his 89-year-old mother, after warning New Yorkers not to hold their normal Thanksgiving gatherings as the virus is easily spread indoors. He later reversed course, canceling his holiday plans.