"It’s disconcerting to look out in the audience and see so many people flagrantly ignoring the requirements," Supervisor Patrick Kennedy said in the meeting, according to KOVR-TV in Sacramento. "I don’t care if you’re in the public chambers, at the bus, or if you’re at the French Laundry. You wear a mask."
Kennedy was referring to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s infamous evening out at Napa Valley restaurant French Laundry last fall when he was advising Californians to stay home.
Kennedy had a heated back and forth with some members of the audience before he and Supervisor Phil Serna decided to leave the chambers to finish the meeting virtually from their offices.
"When we, the county, are setting the rules for others we need to follow those rules too. We simply cannot preach water and drink wine," Kennedy later told KOVR of the incident.
He said he felt audience members not wearing masks at the meeting was a "thumbing of the nose at public health officials" and he decided he couldn’t "sit idly by" as people violated the rules.
Kennedy agreed some might think he was being overly dramatic by leaving the meeting.
"People are going to judge me how they’re going to judge me," he told KOVR. "I did what I felt was right. I followed my conscience and made what I thought was a principled decision."
California plans to lift mask-wearing requirements for most places on June 15.
In a statement to Fox News Kennedy said: "I was surprised to see people in the County Administration chambers not wearing masks and nobody enforcing the requirements – a direct violation of the county’s Public Health Officer’s health order, following the Governor’s public health order. I could not in good conscience look the other way when county health orders were being completely disregarded while we continue to make businesses, Regional Transit, schools, libraries, and churches follow the rules. As an elected leader, I do not feel it right to ‘preach water and drink wine.’ In light of that hypocrisy, I followed my conscience and did what I felt was the principled thing."