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McConnell says he'd leave Covid mandates up to employers, school boards

Republican governors in several states have attempted to ban mask and vaccine mandates but have faced increasing resistance from schools and cities.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks at the Capitol on Aug. 3, 2021.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks at the Capitol on Aug. 3, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite / AP file

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that if he were governor, he would let employers and school boards decide whether to implement mask and vaccine mandates.

McConnell appeared to be implicitly taking issue with Republican governors including Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas who had previously announced bans on such mandates that are now being legally challenged in courts.

“Some employers are requiring that. I don’t think it’s the business of the government, certainly not the federal government, [to make that recommendation],” McConnell told The Owensboro Times in an interview Monday when asked for his thoughts on requiring vaccines in the workplace.

He continued, “The governors basically deal with issues like those and mask mandates and that sort of thing. If I were governor, I’d leave the issue of masks and vaccines up to school boards and employers.”

On Capitol Hill, masks are required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in the House but they are not required on the Senate side. Three senators tested positive for Covid last week in breakthrough infections.

Two recent polls found that the majority of Republicans oppose mask and vaccine mandates, including in schools, even as the Delta variant of Covid rips across the U.S.