Gov.-elect Youngkin says no COVID-19 mandate from him, but he won’t stop local mandates

Newly elected Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin bucks the GOP, now says he won’t block local COVID mandates

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Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has announced he will not stop local mandates for masks and vaccines in schools and businesses after reportedly vowing to roll them back during his run for office against Democrat contender Terry McAuliffe.

“Localities are going to have to make decisions the way the law works, and that is going to be up to individual decisions. But, again, from the governor’s office, you won’t see mandates from me,” Youngkin stated in an interview this weekend, according to TV station WRIC.

Youngkin’s stance is a break from other conservative Republican governors such as Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas. Both of those governors have issued executive orders that block local governments from issuing any COVID mandates. Many on the right are now calling Youngkin a RINO and a sellout for the move.

It should be noted that, despite being described as an “anti-vaxxer” by critics while campaigning, Youngkin called himself a “staunch supporter” of the vaccine.

“I’ve gotten the vaccine; my family has gotten the vaccine. It’s the best way for people to keep themselves safe. And I, in fact, have asked everyone in Virginia to please get the vaccine. But I don’t think we should mandate it,” Youngkin remarked during a debate in September, CNN reported.

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Youngkin also vowed from the campaign trail to stand against Biden’s mandate that businesses with more than 100 employees must ensure workers are vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask while on the job.

“I don’t believe that President Biden has the authority to dictate to everyone that we have to take the vaccine,” Youngkin previously claimed, according to WRIC.

Current Gov. Ralph Northam has mandated vaccinations or weekly testing for all state employees in Virginia. Although he supports requirements from the private sector and local governments, Northam has not ordered vaccine mandates for teachers and healthcare workers at the state level.

Virginia’s vaccine coordinator, Danny Avula, claimed that while Youngkin is planning to reverse state mandates, the measures that Northam put in place have helped to get a large number of Virginians vaccinated.

“I’m not concerned that this will be a step back if we choose to not go the mandated route. I think, by and large, the requirements have gotten a significant amount of Virginians vaccinated,” Avula commented during an interview Monday, according to WRIC.

Regardless of Youngkin’s general opposition to mandating COVID vaccines, he may not really have a say in that decision when it comes to K-12 students in the state of Virginia.

That policy would ostensibly be recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and would then be adopted by the State Board of Health following a 60-day public comment period, according to Del. Patrick Hope.

Before the pandemic reached Virginia, Hope sponsored a bill to remove the General Assembly from the process of adding school vaccine requirements. Hope claimed his goal was to take politics out of those decisions.

Many are not surprised by Youngkin’s disappointing stance on mandates:


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