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Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, both based in Texas, will still require employees to get vaccinated despite the state's new ban on vaccine mandates by private businesses, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a sweeping executive order Monday night banning vaccine mandates by any "entity," including private employers.

  • The new ban signed by the Republican governor goes further than the state's previous vaccine mandate ban, which applied to state government entities or entities that received public funds.
  • Last month, the Biden administration said it would require private companies with more than 100 employees to require workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or produce a weekly negative test.

The big picture: "Federal action supersedes any state mandate or law, and we would be expected to comply with the president's order to remain compliant as a federal contractor," a Southwest spokesperson told Politico in a statement.

  • A representative for American Airlines told Politico that they're also reviewing the new executive order, but that for the time being company leaders "believe the federal vaccine mandate supersedes any conflicting state laws, and this does not change anything for American."

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin gives the inaugural address after being sworn in on Jan. 15. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signed 11 executive orders following his swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, including those that overturn Virginia's mask mandate for public schools and a COVID vaccination requirement for state workers.

Driving the news: Youngkin also signed an order that bans the teaching of critical race theory, a major focus of the 2021 campaign.

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a powerful and potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring an array of hazards, from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten coastal property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.