Republicans Roll Back COVID Safety Recommendations, Stalling Progress and Threatening Recovery

While the Biden administration has been working around the clock to slow the spread of the coronavirus and ramp up vaccine distribution, Republican leaders across the country are standing in the way of progress on COVID-19. By rolling back the safety measures needed to keep the virus in check, Republicans are risking the health of Americans and threatening to prolong this unprecedented crisis.

Republican leaders across the country are dropping, challenging, or refusing to enforce mask mandates, even though experts agree masks are one of the most effective ways to slow the virus’ spread.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “A prominent Republican donor who sued Evers in October challenging the governor’s authority to issue emergency orders to combat the coronavirus pandemic without legislative approval is asking the state’s highest court to intervene in Evers’ newest order to mandate masks. The motion to block the order from Jeré Fabick comes after most Republicans in the state Legislature last week voted to end Evers’ health emergency order that mandates face masks on the grounds it was issued unconstitutionally — an effort made using the same argument as Fabick’s lawsuit.”

Grand Forks Record: “While the number of cases were declining earlier this month, North Dakota’s statewide mask mandate expired on Jan. 18 after [Gov. Doug] Burgum did not take action to extend it, though cities can still continue to implement their own. Burgum said in a statement he supports ‘locally enacted protocols.’”

KRTV: “Governor Greg Gianforte said on Wednesday that he will let Montana’s state-wide mask mandate expire as of Friday, February 12th.”

Republican leaders are ignoring the advice of their own public health experts and have even proposed stripping local officials of their ability to put in place measures to keep their constituents safe.

Des Moines Register: “Gov. Kim Reynolds did not consult with Iowa Department of Public Health officials on her decision to drop mask rules from her latest COVID-19 disaster proclamation, two Democratic lawmakers say.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Local health officials could be stripped of their power to control a deadly pandemic under a package of proposed changes under consideration by Missouri Republicans. In action Wednesday, the Senate Health and Pensions Committee opened debate on a series of pro-business proposals that would put roadblocks in the way of county officials seeking to close businesses or religious services during a public health emergency… [Gov. Mike Parsons] has put the onus on local governments to enforce stay-at-home orders and mask requirements rather than issue a statewide mandate.”

Idaho Statesman: “Idaho will relax some of its statewide COVID-19 restrictions after reported positive cases decreased in recent weeks. […] Idaho hasn’t met the series of criteria [Gov. Brad Little] outlined to move back to Stage 3. One part of the criteria required Idaho to average fewer than 25 confirmed COVID-19 patients in ICU care over the prior 14-day period. The state’s most recent average is 62.4.”