After advising residents against gathering with people outside of their households and avoiding travel ahead of Thanksgiving, Mayor Michael Hancock boarded a plane for Houston Wednesday to spend time with his daughter and wife in Mississippi.
“As he has shared, the Mayor is not hosting his traditional large family dinner this year,” mayoral spokesperson Mike Strott said to Denverite via a text message, “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. Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine.”
Around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, Hancock tweeted guidance that included avoiding travel and hosting virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners.
Strott said the mayor also advised that if residents do travel, they should “follow health and safety guidance upon return.”
Denver recently implemented stricter COVID-19 restrictions as cases continue to rise at an unprecedented rate in the city.
Denver City Council president Stacey Gilmore emphasized the need to avoid travel to stop the spread of COVID-19 in a statement she issued later Wednesday.
“Mayor Michael Hancock made the personal decision to travel for Thanksgiving,” Gilmore said. “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.”
The mayor released a statement at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
“I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration. What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver.
“I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone. As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others, I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel. I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.”