Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., lambasted governors for locking down their states during the coronavirus pandemic.
"You know, nobody ever intended that governors would be sort of czars or dictators in charge of the economy,'' Paul told The Epoch Times on Friday.
"In my state, you can’t have indoor dining, you can't have outdoor dining, and your kids are not in school. We’re worse than New York City right now. In Kentucky, our governor has shut the schools down even though all of the science shows that — and all of the evidence — that you really aren’t having a surge when you have the schools open.''
Governors around the country have imposed restrictions to varying degrees during the pandemic. In Paul's home state, Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear has implemented a mask mandate, limited private gathering sizes, and set minimal capacity for indoor small businesses such as gyms. All schooling is done remotely. Restaurantscan offer only takeout.
New York Democrat Gov. Mario Cuomo ordered restaurants to again stop indoor dining in mid-December.
California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday a stay-at-home order for Southern California likely will be extended into the new year.
States such as New York and California are seeing people flee to states with more relaxed pandemic rules. Preliminary Census Bureau data showed more than 126,000 people left New York state between July 2019 and July 2020, the biggest population drop of any state.
Rand criticized governors locking down their states, which received money from the federal government's various stimulus packages.
"The only thing that will get [New York City Mayor Bill] de Blasio and Cuomo to finally open up is when they run out of other people’s money," Paul said. "So I think that we shouldn't be passing out any money to the states, we shouldn't be rewarding their bad behavior.
"And really, this has probably been the worst time in the history of our country for power being accumulated into the hands of very few people."
The pandemic has had significant impact on more than three-quarters of the nation's small businesses, according to government data. Accommodation and food services have been impacted the most.
Governors in some states also have placed restrictions on capacity for houses of worship. Indoor religious gatherings have been banned in California.
"I lost two good friends this week to the virus. I’m not saying it's not deadly," said Paul, stating he understood the severity of COVID.
"I’m not saying there's not good advice. If you’re 85 years old and you ask me, should you go to church and sit there for two hours, I'd say my best advice is don't. But I would never mandate that you can't go to church. I would never mandate that you close the church. I would never mandate that you close religious school."
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