Un-Checked Power: Gov. Northam Uses ‘Snitch Portal’ to Justify Shut Down Threats to Small Businesses

Un-Checked Power: Gov. Northam Uses ‘Snitch Portal’ to Justify Shut Down Threats to Small Businesses

Northam’s policy decisions that appear to be implemented only after he faces criticism make hardworking and law-abiding Virginians suffer the consequences.

July 15, 2020

Gov. Northam announced yesterday that he would be sending 500 state inspectors throughout the Commonwealth after “receiving complaints” that businesses are not following his guidelines.  The announcement comes after Northam, just weeks ago, established a ‘snitch portal’ for Virginians to anonymously lodge complaints against churches, gun ranges, small businesses and private citizens. At the time, State Senator Mark Obenshain questioned the motives behind the portal citing that there was no mechanism to keep businesses from lodging complaints against their competitors.

So, it appears that the full force and weight of the state government is poised and ready to drop on restaurants, churches and wineries for perceived violations of the Governor’s orders while the Governor equivocates and prevaricates when it comes to its enforcement in connection with protests, demonstrations and riots – as long as participants are his allies. – Sen. Mark D. Obenshain

In May, The Virginia Association of Cheifs of Police strongly encouraged Northam not to issue a mandatory face covering order, calling the move a “no-win situation”.

Wearing a mask, social distancing and limited trips outside the home are the best advice we can give Virginians, and we should continue to recommend these prevention measures. However, turning good advice into a mandate that has to be enforced with trespassing citations and physical removal of violators destroys police/community relations and puts business owners in a no-win situation: either be prepared to confront people you value as customers, or avoid the risk of a potentially violent confrontation by keeping your business closed. – Dana G. Schrad  Executive Director, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and Foundation

House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert expressed his outrage over Northam’s reversal of his own guidelines stating that it will create more division and defiance between business owners and their customers.

When the Governor first issued his mask mandate in May, Virginians were assured that it was not up to businesses to enforce this rule. Today, the Governor has reversed course, telling businesses that ‘their licenses will be on the line’ if they do not enforce the mask mandate. This mandate puts businesses in an untenable position. To keep their licenses, they must confront customers who choose not to comply.  The Governor and his team appear to know where people are flouting the mandate. I can’t help but think issuing a statewide ‘or else’ threat will do little but create more defiance. Real leadership brings people together it doesn’t make threats. After all, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. – Del. Todd Gilbert, House Minority Leader

Following controversy around Gov. Northam’s college yearbook photos, he decided to remove every monument in Virginia. This year, Northam was caught not wearing a facial covering while taking selfies on a Virginia Beach boardwalk. Following pushback, he made face coverings mandatory. Northam’s policy decisions that appear to be implemented only after he faces criticism make hardworking and law-abiding Virginians suffer the consequences.

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