Alaska Lawmaker Barred From Flying Over Mask Rules Has Covid
The Republican state senator, Lora Reinbold, drew widespread attention after video surfaced of her confrontation with Alaska Airlines employees over mask policies.
An Alaska lawmaker barred from flying over masking rules has Covid.
The Alaska State senator Lora Reinbold revealed on Facebook that she had tested positive for the coronavirus and had exhibited symptoms of Covid-19.Credit…Pool photo by Becky Bohrer
By Neil Vigdor
Oct. 14, 2021, 5:41 p.m. ET
An Alaska lawmaker who was barred from Alaska Airlines flights after she defied a federal mandate requiring passengers to wear masks disclosed this week that she had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The lawmaker, Lora Reinbold, a Republican state senator who has also been a vocal critic of vaccine mandates, said on Facebook that she had been exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Her revelation came as Alaska has been grappling with its worst coronavirus surge of the pandemic.
“It’s my turn to battle Covid head on… game on!” Ms. Reinbold wrote on Tuesday. “Who do you think is going to win? When I defeat it, I will tell you my recipe.”
Ms. Reinbold, 57, drew widespread attention in April after a video emerged of her arguing with employees at Juneau International Airport about the mask rule.
The exchange prompted Alaska Airlines to bar Ms. Reinbold from its flights, a decision that was later upheld. As long as the federal mask mandate is in place — it was extended until Jan. 18, 2022 — Ms. Reinbold will be banned from Alaska Airlines flights, the carrier said in an email on Thursday.
Unable to fly from her district to Juneau, the state capital, a journey that could take more than 19 hours by car and ferry, Ms. Reinbold, who represents Eagle River, Alaska, asked last month to be excused from legislative sessions until next year. The Republican-led Senate accepted her request without objection.
A legislative aide for Ms. Reinbold, who previously called the airline’s ban “mask tyranny,” did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
In her Facebook post, Ms. Reinbold revealed that she was “blessed” to have obtained ivermectin, a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms in livestock, which she called the “de-covider.”
In August, the Food and Drug Administration warned that ivermectin should not be taken to treat or prevent Covid-19. Demand for the drug has surged, with Fox News promoting the findings of studies about its use against Covid-19.
The lawmaker said that she was taking “lots of vitamins” and quercetin, one of a large class of compounds called flavonols that are found in fruits and vegetables.
“My Vicks steamer has been a God send!” she added.
Speaking on the floor of the Alaska State Senate last month, Ms. Reinbold continued to take a defiant stance against the federal mask mandate.
“The political ban is still in place as long as Biden’s illegitimate mask mandate is in place on private and public transportation,” she said.
In August, the Transportation Security Administration extended a face mask requirement at airports and on airplanes, commuter buses and trains through Jan. 18. Last month it doubled fines for travelers who refuse to wear masks in airports and on commercial airplanes.
The State of Vaccine Mandates in the U.S.
Vaccine rules. On Aug. 23, the F.D.A. granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and up, paving the way for mandates in both the public and private sectors. Such mandates are legally allowed and have been upheld in court challenges.College and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities are requiring students to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost all are in states that voted for President Biden.Schools. California became the first state to issue a vaccine mandate for all educators and to announce plans to add the Covid-19 vaccine as a requirement to attend school, which could start as early as next fall. Los Angeles already has a vaccine mandate for public school students 12 and older that begins Nov. 21. New York City’s mandate for teachers and staff, which went into effect Oct. 4 after delays due to legal challenges, appears to have prompted thousands of last-minute shots.Hospitals and medical centers. Many hospitals and major health systems are requiring employees to get vaccinated. Mandates for health care workers in California and New York State appear to have compelled thousands of holdouts to receive shots.Indoor activities. New York City requires workers and customers to show proof of at least one dose of the Covid-19 for indoor dining, gyms, entertainment and performances. Starting Nov. 4, Los Angeles will require most people to provide proof of full vaccination to enter a range of indoor businesses, including restaurants, gyms, museums, movie theaters and salons, in one of the nation’s strictest vaccine rules.At the federal level. On Sept. 9, President Biden announced a vaccine mandate for the vast majority of federal workers. This mandate will apply to employees of the executive branch, including the White House and all federal agencies and members of the armed services.In the private sector. Mr. Biden has mandated that all companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing, helping propel new corporate vaccination policies. Some companies, like United Airlines and Tyson Foods, had mandates in place before Mr. Biden’s announcement.
The move came amid a surge in airline complaints of unruly passengers and even violent confrontations between travelers and flight attendants, some of which have been precipitated by disputes over wearing masks.
Ms. Reinbold alluded to Alaska’s recent rise in infections and hospitalizations in her Facebook post.
“I plan to keep my promise to stay OUT of the hospital,” she wrote. “Some of them seem like scary places these days.”
In a subsequent Facebook post on Thursday, Ms. Reinbold said that her flulike symptoms — including a fever, muscle aches and a sore throat — were subsiding, but that she still had a mild cough and had not regained all of her energy.
“I believe there is a zero chance of me going to hospital,” she wrote.