Youngkin affirms stance on no mask mandates during visit at Virginia food bank


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Republican Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin reiterated his policy against any sort of statewide mask mandate Wednesday, as the average of daily new cases of coronavirus ahead of Christmas has passed levels from the delta wave this summer.

Youngkin reinforced his stance as he appeared at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, touring the facility and packing boxes of food for those who need it.

“Please get the vaccine. If you haven’t gotten the booster, get the booster,” Youngkin said. “I do believe this is an individual decision, so I won’t mandate it. But we are going to go to work and encourage everyone strongly to get the vaccines. It’s the best way to keep your family safe.”

Nearly 6,000 new cases were reported by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on Wednesday, Dec. 22 alone, which was not only the largest single-day spike in cases since late January, but also the fifth largest case spike for Virginia during the entire pandemic.

In addition, the VDH also reported the biggest single-day increase in virus-related hospitalizations since mid-September on Wednesday, as well as the biggest single-day increase in virus-related deaths since mid-October.

However, Youngkin says he sees no threshold of new cases that would change his stance.

Meanwhile, a food bank executive says she feels encouraged that the new administration will be sympathetic and supportive of organizations like hers.

Chief Impact Officer Emma Inman says because Youngkin is so focused on education, he realizes that nutrition is a key part of a child’s education.

“We believe that the incoming administration is going to be a champion of the food bank, and we look forward to partnering with them to address food insecurity here in South Hampton Roads and on the Eastern Shore,” Inman said.

Youngkin pointed to the statistic that one in six children in Hampton Roads have food insecurity, and he encouraged people to donate either money or time to help the food bank.

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