North Carolina Democrats resurface Sen. Thom Tillis' 2015 comments against hand-washing requirements as COVID-19 concerns grow

The coronavirus pandemic is giving new life to some old comments from North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis.

The North Carolina Democratic Party is spotlighting Tillis' 2015 call to lift public health regulations requiring restaurant workers to wash their hands after bathroom breaks.

RELATED: Tillis takes hands-off approach to government regulation, hand washing

"I said I don't have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says 'we don't require our employees to wash their hands,'" Tillis told a moderator during a 2015 town hall at a Washington think tank during the first year of his term in the senate.

The moderator responded jokingly, "Well, I'm not sure I'm gonna shake your hand."


NCDP used the exchange as a part of a new digital campaign ad pushed out this week.

Tillis was arguing to reduce regulations on businesses across the country that he regarded as "burdensome." He also went on to say that businesses who chose to require employee hand washing would likely go out of business for lack of customers who found it acceptable.

But, with Tillis running for re-election in November in the midst of a global health crisis -- Democrats are using the comments to blast his record on public health -- including a 2017 vote in favor of a bill that would've slashed the Centers for Disease Control's budget by 12 percent.

"The North Carolina Democratic Party should be ashamed for peddling lies divorced from any context in order to mislead voters during a pandemic... Senator Tillis will continue working across the aisle to protect North Carolinians who have been impacted by this virus," NCGOP spokesperson Sasha Duncan told ABC11.

NCDP said Tillis should tell voters whether he still believes what he said.
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