More than three years after the first COVID-19 restrictions and mandates began to surface nationwide, most of the government-imposed requirements regarding vaccines and other pandemic-related safeguards have been dropped.
Nevertheless, a few remnants remain — particularly at the federal level — and some Republican lawmakers are pushing for their eradication.
U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL), for example, recently led a group of dozens of GOP lawmakers in sending a letter to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration asserting that, more than two months after the COVID-19 public health emergency was officially lifted, it is no longer appropriate for the agency to require guests to provide personal health details including their vaccination status.
President Joe Biden issued an executive order in May that ostensibly curtailed any remaining vaccine requirements for those working — directly or indirectly — for the federal government.
Despite that order and a statement from the NOAA’s parent agency, the Department of Commerce, that it no longer requires “onsite contractor employees and visitors to provide information about their vaccination status,” evidence provided by the 42 House Republicans who signed the letter indicates that a form provided to NOAA visitors “asks about individuals’ vaccination status and physical symptoms.”
Asserting that these requirements “are inconsistent with the federal government’s posture regarding coronavirus management,” the letter requested a response by the end of next month.
Among the issues the letter sought to clarify were why the NOAA continues to require the disclosure of guests’ vaccination status, how long the policy will continue, and whether employees face similar requirements, and
Franklin went into greater detail about his motivation to lead this effort, accusing the Biden administration of wielding an unjustifiable amount of control over Americans under the guise of COVID-19 precautions.
Biden declared the pandemic over, yet his Administration is still harassing Americans with unconstitutional COVID-19 mandates. It's unacceptable.
Read my letter demanding answers👇👇 pic.twitter.com/FKo0q8c9ka
— Congressman Scott Franklin (@RepFranklin) July 30, 2023
“It’s clear to me that Washington liberals who viewed the pandemic as cover to grow the size and scope of the federal bureaucracy have slow-rolled returning to normal after the pandemic,” he added. “Americans are operating business as usual—they expect their government to as well. It’s time the Department of Commerce and NOAA end this overreach, and I thank my colleagues who joined me to demand accountability for this unacceptable abuse of power.”