FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2020 – Richmond, VA
The Libertarian Party of Virginia (LPVA) condemns Executive Order Seventy-Two, announced yesterday by Governor Ralph Northam. Each order has progressively infringed on the individual civil liberties of every Virginian. Today’s order implies that the Governor not only knows what is best for every Virginian, but he confidently uses his position of power to mandate broad, ineffective measures of restrictions. This is unacceptable.
Businesses in Virginia began implementing mask entrance requirements, social distancing guidelines, and overall new business practices before any mandates were issued by the state. Thousands of stores even offered designated shopping times with enhanced sanitation for senior citizens – COVID’s hardest hit demographic. Individual business owners and consumers drove these measures and applied them regionally and as they saw fit.
Since the mandates and lockdowns began, the economy has been negatively impacted and financial security lost for thousands of Virginians. In 2020, nearly 25% of Virginia businesses closed, either temporarily or permanently. This week alone, unemployment claims doubled in one week. Many of these were individuals claiming unemployment for the first time. Had businesses and customers been allowed to operate with a level of risk they felt comfortable with, hundreds of thousands of Virginians would have been able to continue their livelihood.
Additionally, there are impacts to these extreme lockdowns that are not emphasized enough. Forcing citizens to stay at home forces victims to stay home with abusers. The rate of victims calling interpersonal violence hotlines dropped 50% in 2020. It is unlikely that the rate of domestic violence decreased, but rather victims no longer have access to support services. Similar concerns exist for child abuse, child neglect, and depression. A lack of reporting and service utilization does not equate to the absence of a problem.
The Libertarian Party of Virginia believes that individuals have the right to live their own lives. Blanket restrictions dis proportionally eliminate employment for those who cannot work from home and forces individuals to stay in dangerous households. Free-flowing executive mandates continue to erode the very fabric of liberty that our nation was founded on. Stop imposing the state’s will on Virginians – let people be free.