A small group campaigning for a local congressional candidate caused a stir by not wearing face masks at the Pleasanton Farmers' Market earlier this month.
Onlookers at the market on July 18 photographed the people in question, who were not wearing face coverings while sitting at a table with signs and other informational materials relating to the election campaign for Alison Hayden, the Republican candidate looking to unseat incumbent Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore) in the Nov. 3 general election.
Photos of the mask-less campaigners made the rounds on local social media pages and groups as well.
Hayden distanced herself from the individuals involved when contacted by the Weekly, saying no one officially affiliated with her congressional campaign attended the Pleasanton market that day.
Face coverings and physical distancing have become commonplace since the COVID-19 pandemic started, with many states including California requiring residents to wear them while in public.
Teri Yan, spokesperson for the Pleasanton Police Department, confirmed "an incident regarding face coverings did occur at the Farmers' Market" and that an officer "responded to the scene and spoke with the individuals" after their dispatch center received multiple calls about the group that day.
"The officer spoke to the individuals and convinced them to wear their face covering, though one person was determined to be medically exempt from the mask regulation," Yan said. "After the officer left, it was later reported the masks were taken off."
Hayden told the Weekly the table was "not something I endorsed" and that none of the people there are staffers or volunteers for her campaign. "That has nothing to do with me. Nobody in my campaign was there that I know of," Hayden said.
After asking around later that week, Hayden said, "The person did call me and told me apparently she was sitting by herself drinking coffee not near anyone. She has a medical exemption, and the person who approached her was very loud and got kind of antagonistic about it, and I think she was trying to tell him that she has a medical exemption."
The current health order from Alameda County requires all residents to wear face masks when visiting any essential business or when they come within 30 feet of another person while outdoors.