Heavy criticism flooded social media after images circulated showing Cuomo interacting closely with a slew of officials, including Savannah, Georgia, Mayor Van Johnson, while not wearing a mask.
“We messed up, I mean, yeah, we messed up. No big deal, in this case,” Johnson, a Democrat, told reporters on Tuesday.
“We’re human. We made a mistake and I think for people who want to take the significance of that entire day, the significance of this massive donation, the significance of this wonderful friendship and partnership and want to delineate it to a picture, I think they need other stuff to do,” he added later.
New York officials delivered items including masks to Savannah to help the city respond to the pandemic.
Johnson is among the officials who said Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s overriding of local mask requirements endangered lives. Cuomo, meanwhile, has repeatedly harangued New Yorkers over wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. His office didn’t respond to an inquiry about why he wasn’t following his own advice on wearing masks when interacting with Johnson and other officials.
Janice Dean was among those sharing the images, which showed Cuomo leaning close to the officials while visiting Georgia this week.
Besides Johnson, the other officials appeared to be wearing masks.
Dean is a Fox News meteorologist who has been one of the fiercest critics of Cuomo’s order to nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients because both her husband’s parents died this year, according to her, as a result of the order.
“Mr. wear your mask not wearing a mask in Georgia,” Dean wrote on Twitter.
Cuomo, a Democrat, regularly shares social media posts about wearing masks and tells people to wear them during remarks at virtually every one of his daily press conferences.
“If a hospital worker can wear a mask nonstop during a 10-hour shift. If women can wear masks during labor. You can wear a mask while running an errand,” Cuomo said in a social media message on Tuesday.
Cuomo has called on President Donald Trump to impose national requirements to wear masks, a move that some believe would be unconstitutional.