The mayor of Denver, Colorado, is facing heavy criticism online after he advised his city’s residents to spend Thanksgiving alone moments before he departed on a flight to leave the state to be with his family.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat, took to Twitter on Wednesday to ask his city’s residents to avoid traveling for the holiday.
Hancock’s reasoning was that by avoiding traveling and isolating away from family members, those in the city could mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
“Pass the potatoes, not COVID,” Hancock tweeted.
He added people should, “Stay home as much as you can, especially if you’re sick,” and suggested “virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners” for Thanksgiving.
Hancock further stated people should “Avoid travel” while considering ordering their meals from local restaurants.”
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
The mayor this week also reportedly asked his staff to take the same measures.
Hancock wrote that “as the holidays approach, we all long to be with our families [in] person, but with the continued rise in cases, I’m urging you to refrain from travel this Thanksgiving holiday.”
“For my family that means cancelling our traditional gathering of our extended family.”
Hancock also stated that any employee who traveled out of state for the holiday should isolate themselves for 14 days upon return.
But Hancock himself apparently had no plans to stay home and avoid family.
In fact, according to KUSA-TV, just 30 minutes after Hancock advised against family gatherings on Twitter Wednesday, he boarded a connecting flight to Texas.
Hancock’s assistant told the outlet the mayor would be gone from Wednesday until Friday of this week, as he will spend Thanksgiving with family in Mississippi.
“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 [the daughter’s] residence instead of having them travel back to Denver,” a statement from the mayor’s spokesperson said.
Hancock is facing a major blowback online for the apparent show of hypocrisy.
Avoid travel if you can – unless your self-important agenda says otherwise.
My mother can’t risk losing her job to see her children, yet the mayor in charge of our safety balks at the very idea.
Are you following any of these suggestions? 🤔
— Tori (@torisuemagoo) November 25, 2020
I’m not seeing my brother and sister because we are trying to stay safe. This is selfish and a terrible example for the mayor. BTW Downtown Denver has turned to a dump on your watch
— Bradley Roulier (@beatportbrad) November 25, 2020
I’m not seeing my parents for Thanksgiving despite nearly losing my dad last week.
A guy I sponsor cried during our last phone call because he badly wanted to spend his 1st ever sober holiday with his folks.
To the many Denverites making sacrifices for Thanksgiving, thank you.
— Vic Vela (@VicVela1) November 25, 2020
Your decision to flout your own guidelines is massively misguided and will only result in further erosion of public trust. You're gonna come home to a lot of angry constituents who made sacrifices while you didn't.
— Dr. Jennifer L. Hoffman ✨🏠 (@astroprofhoff) November 25, 2020
The mayor’s representative assured critics Hancock will take measures to protect those around him after his return from Mississippi.
“Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine,” the representative added.
“Mayor Michael Hancock made the personal decision to travel for Thanksgiving,” Denver City Council President Stacie Gilmore said in a statement Wednesday. “I expect the mayor will follow and comply with the directives he issued to all City of Denver employees and quarantine for 14 days upon his return.”