RICHMOND, Va. (7News) — Republican and Democratic candidates running for Virginia governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general spoke at an event in Fairfax County Wednesday.
7News spoke with the two candidates for governor after they spoke at the Virginia FREE Leadership Luncheon.
Although both Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe and Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin say they strongly support people getting vaccinated against COVID-19, they strongly disagree on how to handle the pandemic.
McAuliffe favors mandates in some cases, including supporting a mandate that began Wednesday requiring state employees to show proof of vaccination or to submit negative test results weekly.
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He also favors mandates for college students and health systems and wants to encourage employers to require their employees to get vaccinated.
“If you have a legitimate religious objection or health reason, I understand that of course, but most analyses say that’s about two percent,” McAuliffe said after speaking at Wednesday’s event. “But people got to get vaccinated, we’re not going to get rid of this thing [otherwise].”
Youngkin says he strongly favors educating unvaccinated people about why getting vaccinated is a good idea, but he disagrees with McAuliffe on mandates.
“I’ve gotten the vaccine. And I believe you should too. But that’s a decision you should make,” Youngkin told 7News after speaking to the crowd. “It’s not a decision that I will impose on people.”
Youngkin also opposes mask mandates, including for public school children, saying the decision should be up to parents.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a mask mandate for indoor public spaces even for vaccinated people in the city. So far current Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has not issued a similar mandate since a surge in Delta variant cases.
SEE ALSO | Mask and vaccine rules in DC, Maryland and Virginia
7News asked McAuliffe if, given current conditions, he would do so if he wins.
“Let’s see where we are [in five months],” he said.
Wednesday’s luncheon was held at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Tysons.