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Gov. Youngkin to reimburse those who paid ‘unjust’ COVID penalties

Published in Blog on December 08, 2022 by Jakob Fay

At long last, some in our government are beginning to make right the many wrongs of the COVID-19 crackdowns.

This week, Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia announced his intentions to reimburse Virginians who were fined for violating unfair COVID-19 policies. He also revealed that future penalties will be ended.

Youngkin’s predecessor, Governor Ralph Northam enacted strict mandates during the coronavirus pandemic and penalized businesses for not following his overbearing rules. Since then, the fines have not yet been cut from the state’s budget.

“I am today requiring a statewide review of COVID-19 related penalties imposed by the Northam administration,” said Governor Youngkin in a press release. “The fact that businesses are still dealing with COVID-19 related penalties and fines is infuriating. Livelihoods are on the line. In the previous administration, we saw our government shut down businesses, close our schools, and separate us from each other. While we can’t undo the damage done during the Northam administration, we are taking action going forward to end COVID-era draconian overreach.”

According to his executive order, “Virginia continues to recover from the effects of COVID-19. For too many individuals, businesses, and non-profits, this includes measures resulting from guidelines imposed during the public health emergency. Due to state action, businesses in Virginia were prohibited from allowing entry, service, or access to their premises, putting their existence at risk. Individuals were prohibited from working and carrying on important daily activities. Because of the sweeping impact of these measures, I am directing the Commonwealth to review the disciplinary actions taken against private individuals and businesses and take corrective action where appropriate.”

Many believe Youngkin’s sudden move came in response to a widely publicized police raid on a local Virginia business only days earlier.

Matt Strickland, the owner of Gourmeltz, explained that Virginia State Police and Virginia ABC agents “raided me and took every drop of alcohol in my restaurant for not following COVID mandates two years ago."

Strickland is upset that it took his state so long to rectify COVID rules and worries that Youngkin’s executive order is more for publicity and will not actually alleviate businesses of the financial burden of COVID fees.

Nevertheless, Youngkin’s promise to make things right for the businesses that suffered under his predecessor’s draconian lockdowns, mandates, and over-regulations is a first step in the right direction.

May we pray that the states have learned from the grave failures of the COVID crackdowns and that our businesses are never again subjected to such a blatant violation of constitutional rights.

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