Virginia Senate GOP leaders call on Northam to revoke mask mandate

Virginia News

A man wearing double mask for protection from COVID-19. (Mark Moran /The Citizens’ Voice via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Senate Republican leadership issued a statement requesting Governor Ralph Northam to follow the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines by overturning the state’s mask mandate.

The governor’s office told 8News on Thursday that Virginia’s mask guidelines which require individuals to wear face coverings indoors are still in effect, for now, despite new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a news release, Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City), Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover) and Caucus Co-Chairman Mark D. Obenshain (R- Rockingham) released a joint statement on May 14, telling Northam to follow the science.

“Yesterday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control confirms what the science has indicated for months: there is no benefit in making those who are fully vaccinated wear a mask, either indoors or outdoors,” the joint statement said. “We call on Governor Northam to conform the
Commonwealth’s guidance to that of the CDC’s by immediately rescinding his mask mandate. It’s time for Virginians who have been vaccinated to breathe freely once again.”

A spokesperson from the governor’s office said on Thursday that they are “in the process of aligning state guidance with federal policy,” saying the federal move was a “big shift,” and the administration hopes to have updates on the state policy soon.

The CDC announced on May 13, almost five months exactly after the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S., that fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear a mask indoors in most settings; excluding planes, trains, buses, hospitals and prisons.

Under current state policy, anyone five years old and up must cover their mouth and nose with a face-covering indoors, as well as workforce employees.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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