State Watch

Youngkin moves toward reimbursements for ‘unjust’ COVID-19 fines in Virginia

Glenn Youngkin
AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks to supporters as he attends a campaign rally on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, in Westchester, N.Y. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) announced on Tuesday that he plans to reimburse individuals and businesses who paid fines for violating most state COVID-19 restrictions put in place by his Democratic predecessor.

Youngkin signed an executive order directing all state agencies to report all COVID-19 fines and disciplinary actions they imposed, and the governor said he plans to develop a reimbursement process in his upcoming budget proposal for the restrictions imposed by former Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

“The fact that businesses are still dealing with COVID-19 related penalties and fines is infuriating,” Youngkin said in a statement. 

“Livelihoods are on the line,” he added. “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.”

Youngkin added that the review and reimbursements will not apply to violations in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals.

But the Virginia Republican said he will direct agencies to halt collection and enforcement of the other pandemic restriction fines in the upcoming budget request.

“I look forward to working with the General Assembly to address this, forgive COVID fines and fees and restore licenses that were unjustly suspended,” Youngkin said.

Upon taking office in January, Youngkin quickly took aim at some of Virginia’s pandemic restrictions.

He signed an executive order in January making wearing masks optional in schools, and months later he called on the Defense Department to indefinitely postpone the coronavirus vaccine mandate for Army National Guard members.

The text of the annual defense policy bill, which was released on Tuesday night, includes a repeal of the military’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.

Tags COVID-19 Glenn Youngkin Glenn Youngkin Ralph Northam Virginia
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