Rep. Greene: DC Vaccine Mandate Will Drive People to Shop, Dine Elsewhere

Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate will lead to people shopping and dining in Virginia and other nearby locales, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) says.

Greene, who was a small business owner, sees the mandate as “absolutely destructive” for businesses in the nation’s capital.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, announced the vaccination requirements last month for many indoor establishments, including restaurants, gyms, and concert venues.

One key issue, Greene says, is that people who don’t want to comply can drive to another place that doesn’t have the same mandate.

“Everyone I’ve talked to says, ‘Oh, I’ll just go to Virginia. It’s so close,’” she told NTD’s “Capitol Report.”

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) told NTD, The Epoch Times’ sister media, that he’s been told some trade associations and conventions will not be held in Washington because of the mandate.

“They’re frustrated. They either haven’t been vaccinated or they don’t think it’s anybody’s business whether or not they’ve been vaccinated,” he said.

Bowser’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The mayor has said that a rise in COVID-19 case counts and concern about hospital capacity motivated the mandate, which affects all those 12 or older and takes effect on Saturday.

“In 2020, we had to shut down because we didn’t know a lot about the virus, and we knew it was very dangerous, and we didn’t have effective pharmaceutical interventions. But now we do. … The vaccines are working and they’re working well to keep people out of the hospital and to keep people from dying from COVID-19. So we don’t need those type of shutdowns. But we do need more people to get vaccinated and boosted,” Bowser told reporters last month.

As of Jan. 11, available hospital bed capacity in the District of Columbia was at 13 percent.

But the majority of the 2,163 patients in hospitals on that date did not have COVID-19, according to city data.

Additionally, data from several states released this month shows that some patients counted as COVID-19 hospitalizations were admitted for other reasons.

Positive cases have also leveled off around 118,000 in recent days.

Several Republican lawmakers wrote to Bowser this week asking her to rescind the mandate before it goes into effect, but Bowser has so far appeared to ignore the request.

Comer (R-Ky.) and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) noted that the Omicron variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus has shown an ability to bypass vaccine-bestowed protection, actually infecting more vaccinated people than unvaccinated people in some areas. They also noted that the order contains no carve out for people who recovered from COVID-19, despite them, according to studies, having a high level of protection against re-infection.

The lawmakers said they were told by Washington Chief Financial Officer Fitzroy Lee that hotel and restaurants revenues in the district are already down by significant margins when compared to before the pandemic and expressed concern that the revenues would drop even further if the mandate was not withdrawn.

Greene said she hopes businesses in the district protest against Bowser and her mandate.

“They should be letting her know how bad this is, and that they won’t tolerate this anymore,” she said.

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.

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