Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says he held his breath during a photo with SF Mayor Magic Johnson during the NFC title game

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was asked at a press conference on Wednesday why he took off his mask for that now infamous photo with Magic Johnson on Sunday during the NFC Championship game at the SoFi Stadium.

Garcetti pushed back against any suggestion that he endangered anyone by briefly removing his mask during the game, while holding his breath.

“I wore my mask the whole game. When people ask for a picture, I hold my breath and put it here and people can see it,” Garcetti said holding his mask in his hand. “There is zero percent risk of infection because of this.”

Garcetti held a mask in his hand while taking the photo with Johnson.

VIDEO: Governor Newsom and SF Mayor Breed slammed for no-mask photo at Rams-49ers game

Garcetti wasn’t the only one to be criticized for losing his mask last weekend, if only for a moment. Governor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed were also pictured without a mask at the game.

The three Democrats have been accused of hypocrisy for lecturing residents about conscientiously wearing masks in public, while footage of the game that has circulated widely online suggested they set different rules for themselves.

With the 15,664 new cases reported Wednesday in LA County and 102 deaths, Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said transmission is simply too high in the county to relax the mask mandate at this stage of the Super Bowl. . But that hasn’t stopped the public from questioning the rule.

When asked why the SoFi mask requirement makes sense, when millions of people have attended NFL games this year, including in places without strict mask rules, Ferrer did not answered directly. She suggested the risk of transmission remained high in large wards and stressed that determining where someone has been infected can often be difficult, if not impossible.

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The same LA County COVID-19 protocols for mega-events will be followed at next Sunday’s Super Bowl game, which includes wearing a mask in your place unless actively eating or drinking, and showing proof of vaccination to enter, or a negative test.

The NFL says it has designed its own outer perimeter of entry to ensure scouting is safe, effective and actually happens, as some fans have said checks at SoFi and enforcement of the mask mandate have been minimal.

The NFL will provide KN95 masks to all fans in attendance. On Tuesday, LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said individuals should be allowed to make their own decision about whether to mask up at the stadium.

“I don’t know what motivated Supervisor Barger to make her public statement yesterday. As Chair of the Board and someone who truly represents SoFi Stadium, I support the Director of our Public Health Department and literally everyone other public health officials across the country, who recognize that wearing a mask is an easy form of protection,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell.

RELATED: Maskless Mayor London Breed Caught Breaking SF Health Order at Tenderloin Club

“The protocols include a mandatory mask requirement in the stadium for anyone 2 years and older, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear a face covering in the stadium and tailgate areas – except when eating and drinking actively. means buying a bucket of popcorn and eating it for two hours. Eating and drinking actively – we’re on you. Staff are there to remind people to mask up,” said Russ Simons of SoFi Stadium.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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