If Joe Biden enacts mask mandates, lockdowns, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem won't enforce them

“We already know that lockdowns don’t stop the spread of the virus,” Noem wrote.

President-elect Joe Biden has floated a nationwide lockdown and mask mandate in response to surging coronavirus cases across the country.

But even if he follows through and orders all Americans to stay at home and cover their faces when in public, don’t expect to see those mandates enforced in South Dakota.

The office of Gov. Kristi Noem said in a statement to the Argus Leader Friday that the first-term governor, who’s risen to stardom in the Republican party for her hands-off approach to managing the pandemic, has no intention of using state resources to enforce any federal COVID-19 orders.

“It’s a good day for freedom. Joe Biden realizes that the president doesn’t have the authority to institute a mask mandate,” said Ian Fury, communications specialist for Noem. “For that matter, neither does Governor Noem, which is why she has provided her citizens with the full scope of the science and trusted them to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones.”

Biden wants mask mandates nationwide, but he can’t actually enforce them. Here’s what he could do instead.

Biden, who’s poised to be seated as the 46th president of the United States in January, has been critical of President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic, and has said he favors a national mask mandate. Michael Osterholm, one of Biden’s advisors on health matters, has also said publicly that nationwide lockdown lasting four to six weeks could help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which is attributed with killing more than 240,000 Americans. [ … ]

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