Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D) is flying to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with his family despite advising residents against traveling for the holidays if possible as part of an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
His spokeswoman confirmed that Hancock was traveling to Houston Wednesday to visit his daughter in Mississippi, and that his wife is already there. About 30 minutes before the flight, Hancock’s account tweeted out to “avoid travel, if you can” in order to slow 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
According to an email obtained by 9NEWS, Hancock’s assistant said the mayor would be out of office from Wednesday to Friday.
A spokesperson for Hancock defended the trip, saying the mayor has opted against holding a “traditional large family dinner this year” and will “follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine” upon his return to Denver.
“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 statement reads. “Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine.”
However, an email to city employee obtained by 9News, shows Hancock advised: “[A]s the holidays approach, we all long to be with our families with [sic] 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.”
Denver has tallied 33,971 total cases and nearly 500 deaths as of Wednesday.
Hancock’s decision to ignore his own travel advice comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called off Thanksgiving plans with his 89-year-old mother and two of his daughters after strong backlash. In recent days, Cuomo has urged New Yorkers to “stay away” from their loved ones during the holidays.
“Your safe zone is not your safe zone. Your safe zone is dangerous this year. Please. Love is sometimes doing what’s hard. This year, if you love someone, it is smarter and better to stay away,” the governor said last week.