Leesburg Could Reconsider Mask, Vaccine Mandates

Declining COVID cases and the hopeful move from pandemic to endemic has Leesburg Town Council members considering when it should end its mask and vaccine mandates.

The subject was first brought up at the tail end of Monday night’s work session, when council members Kari Nacy and Ara Bagdasarian requested the discussion be planned for the council’s Feb. 22 meeting. Many localities and major metropolitan areas have begun to roll back their COVID-related mandates as the latest Omicron surge declines locally and in most parts of the U.S.

Among the data Bagdasarian asked the staff to have ready for the upcoming meeting is the percentage of town staff members and county residents who are vaccinated, current ICU bed capacity at Inova Loudoun Hospital, trends on new COVID cases in Loudoun, and an update on the employee testing program for those exempted from the town’s vaccine mandate for medical or religious reasons. 

Leesburg’s vaccine mandate for its staff and most of its board and commission members took effect Jan. 11, the date by which all non-exempt employees and advisory body members needed to be fully vaccinated. 

The town first instituted a mask policy for its government buildings May 27, 2020, in accordance with then-Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order 63, said Public Information Officer Betsy Arnett. The mask requirement for vaccinated individuals was lifted on May 14, 2021, but reinstituted for all individuals Aug. 6 when the Delta variant began to cause COVID cases to yet again spike in the region. 

Nacy and Councilwoman Suzanne Fox have attempted on several occasions to get council support to rescind the Oct. 11 vote on the vaccine mandate, but their council colleagues have always voted to remove such an action from their agendas, with that most recently occurring on Tuesday.

Ahead of the again successful vote to adopt Tuesday’s agenda without allowing a vote on rescinding the vaccine mandate, Fox implored her colleagues to “drop this draconian vaccine mandate.” She pointed to the loss of several town employees, most notably within the Leesburg Police Department, and cited court cases that successfully overturned similar mandates. 

Mayor Kelly Burk said neither the mask nor vaccine mandates were ever intended to be permanent, and the council always expected to take another look at both when COVID cases abated.

“When we get to a point where the virus is becoming endemic, which I hope will happen in the very near future, that is when we will look at the mandates and can we do away with these,” she said. “We can agree to disagree. … but [the mandates] have most certainly made us safer.”

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7 thoughts on “Leesburg Could Reconsider Mask, Vaccine Mandates

  • 2022-02-10 at 2:40 pm

    I’m glad Mayor Burk & Town Council are being flexible about the situation. No one has a crystal ball. But the metrics appear to be moving in a favorable direction. Due to the mandates, some folks have severed their affiliation with Leesburg. Now, perhaps a rapprochement is possible. As the Bible says, It’s never too late to repair the breach. Happy Valentine’s Day Loudoun!

  • 2022-02-10 at 2:42 pm

    The Covidians, who happen to be mostly (D)s, have been wrong from day one.
    Now that their insanity is being exposed for what it is, they’re simply trying to look less wrong now.

    Do not ever forget that two years ago… these people pushed the BIG LIE… “we just want to flatten then curve.”

  • 2022-02-10 at 2:53 pm

    Give those people their jobs back!!! You have horribly wronged them.

  • 2022-02-10 at 4:17 pm

    You can’t say “we can agree to disagree” and then make a sweeping statement like, “[the mandates] have most certainly made us safer.”

    Based on what empirical evidence? How will we ever know the mandates “made us safer” when we’ve now seen that both vaccinated and unvaccinated can spread the virus?

    Mayor Burk simply likes to “feel” safer. But her mask and her mandates have done nothing to stop an airborne virus that has traveled around the globe — and was always going to. Please stop insulting our intelligence.

  • 2022-02-10 at 5:08 pm

    The only masks that would make us safer are N95 and the government never mandated those. Burk is not a leader, she is a follower and I hope the citizens of Leesburg wake up and voter her out.

  • 2022-02-14 at 6:03 pm

    This is terrible leadership!! Our Mayor is mandating a vaccine that she says was never intended to be permanent. Seriously? clearly she is not in touch with reality, if she doesn’t realize the ramifications of her mandates. People lost their jobs, lost their benefits, causing emotional and financial stress on families, which is permanent. Our police, EMT worked through the tough times, they were there for us, and this is how our leadership treats them, we need new leadership!

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