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Newsom pulls kids out of basketball camp over masks

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 7/28/2021 Jennifer Smith and Harriet Alexander For
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California Governor Gavin Newsom has been dubbed a COVID hypocrite again after enforcing a mask mandate for kids in schools while allowing his own son and daughter to attend a basketball camp which doesn't enforce face coverings.  

Newsom introduced a statewide mask mandate on July 9 for kids at schools that means all teachers and students must wear masks indoors. It is being widely criticized by parents who say they should decide if their kid wears a mask or not, and two advocacy groups have already filed a lawsuit against the state to fight it. 

On Monday, a photo of Newsom's 10-year-old son Hunter and a group of other kids appeared on the Facebook page of his $200-a-week summer basketball day camp in which none of them were wearing masks. 

The camp does not enforce masks, but it says kids and staff are welcome to wear one if they wish to. Anti-lockdown campaigners said it proved Newsom's hypocrisy that his kids could go maskless while others were to be forced to wear them in schools, rather than being given a choice. 

Now, Newsom has pulled both Hunter and his older sister Montana out of the camp and his team say he 'missed' the email which stated the kids wouldn't have to wear masks. 

Critics say it's 'heartbreaking' Hunter and Montana will now miss out and that they ought to be allowed to remain in camp with their friends, choosing whether or not to wear masks.  

They also say the kids are having to pay the price of their father's political games.   

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'I think it's heartbreaking that he pulled the children out of camp. We want to see every child being able to be a kid. To see this be something where the governor actually pulls his son out, that to me is heartbreaking. 

'We'd much rather see him there smiling, we'd hope that would extend to every child, not just Newsom's own children,' Sharon McKeeman, founder of Let Them Breathe, an anti-mask organization, told  

Before enrolling the kids, Newsom - or someone in his family - will have had to have signed a waiver which states the parent agrees with the camp's mask policy. 

But the Newsom camp insist they didn't know the masks were optional.  

After the photo of Hunter emerged, Newsom spokesperson Erin Mellon said: 'The Newsoms were concerned to see unvaccinated children unmasked indoors at a camp their children began attending yesterday.

'The family reviewed communication from the camp and realized that an email was missed saying the camp would not enforce masking guidance. 

'Their kids will no longer be attending this camp.' 

The founder of Reopen California Schools, a group that recently filed a lawsuit against the governor over the update requiring students wear face masks in the classroom, said it was 'unfortunate' that the kids were now being pulled out of camp. 

He also said he 'strongly believes' Newsom knew the masks were optional, and just didn't want to be seen allowing his own kids to make their choices while deciding for other families what's best for their children. 

'I think it’s unfortunate that his kids don’t get to finish the camp, but he probably didn’t have a choice to not pull his kids politically. 

'I strongly believe that the Newsom family knew that this camp was mask optional, 

'Whether or not they saw the email (I think they did). 

'It is well known that this camp does not follow the state mask protocols and it’s all over their social media [and the] Newsom’s are familiar with the owner. 

'This fallout happened because of the photos AND because media confronted them with the photo,' Jonathan Zachreson told, adding the kids would '100 percent' still be in camp with their friends if the photos hadn't surfaced. 

The camp has not yet addressed the scandal. It is the second embarrassing conflict for the Newsom family. 

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Last year, at the height of California's COVID disaster when people were being told to stay at home and only mix with immediate family, Newsom was photographed at a private dinner with ten other people in an exclusive restaurant. 

At the time, he said he didn't know there were going to be so many people there, and issued a statement saying: 'We're all human'.  

Newsom has faced stern criticism of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, so much so that a recall election has been called for September 14. 

Republicans say he has destroyed the state's economy with his overly restrictive rules. 

Some counties have started enforcing indoor mask mandates again, even for fully vaccinated people, because of the spread of COVID-19. 

Newsom earlier this week announced, like other governors and mayors across America, city and state workers would have to either prove they have been vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 at least once a week. 

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He is already being sued over his mask mandate. 

Reopen California's Schools and another group called Let Them Breathe have sued over the mandate. 

The CDC is recommending a mask mandate for kids because they cannot be vaccinated. 

States are yet to react to it. Newsom is the only governor who is imposing a mask mandate across all public schools, with no wiggle room for localities. 

In New York, Bill de Blasio has enforced a mask mandate in the city for kids indoors. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he will leave it to individual school districts to decide. 

Some Republican Governors have signed orders preventing local officials from imposing their own rules. Iowa, Florida and Texas have signed legislation that stops local officials. 

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