Federal judge blocks COVID mandates for Head Start, South Carolina AG says

State - Regional

FILE – In this April 30, 2021 file photo, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson speaks to attendees at the Richland County GOP convention in Columbia, S.C. The University of South Carolina can’t lawfully require students and staff to wear face coverings on campus this fall, despite increasing cases of coronavirus, thanks to recent legislative action, according to the state’s top prosecutor. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — A federal judge has blocked COVID-19 mandates requiring vaccinations and masks for Head Start programs, according to South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office.

In a news release Sunday afternoon, Wilson’s office said it’s the fourth time that courts have agreed with Wilson and blocked vaccine mandates imposed by the Biden administration.

Judge Terry Doughty in the U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana Monroe District issued a preliminary injunction Saturday against enforcing the vaccine and mask mandate,” Wilson’s office said.

According to the release from Wilson office, Doughty wrote:

“The issue in this case is not whether individuals should take the COVID-19 vaccine, but whether federal agencies can mandate individuals to take a vaccine or be fired. In this Court’s opinion, the Executive branch has declared it has the authority to make laws through Federal agencies. A crossroad has clearly been reached in this country. If the Executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the Legislative branch to make laws, then this country is no longer a democracy—it is a monarchy.”

The Head Start mandate would require all Head Start staff members, volunteers working in classrooms or directly with children, and contractors whose activities involve contact with or providing direct services to children and families, to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Jan. 31.

“This is another victory for the rule of law.,” Wilson said. “Yet another court has said no to this abuse of power and executive overreach. These mandates are garbage and we will continue to stand for the rule of law.”

It also would require immediate masking by anyone 2 years or older when indoors, when outdoors during activities that involve close contact with other people, and when there are two or more people in a vehicle owned, leased, or arranged by the Head Start Program.

Judges have already temporarily blocked vaccine mandates for health care workers, private companies with 100 or more employees and for federal contractors.

The case was brought by Wilson and attorneys general from 23 other states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The preliminary injunction applies only in those states.

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