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DeWine: Masks Should Be Worn And Shouldn't Be Partisan

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to masked reporters after session on May 13, 2020.
Karen Kasler
House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to masked reporters after session on May 13, 2020.

Gov. Mike DeWine changed his initial mask mandate as a condition of businesses reopening, instead requiring masks for employees but not for customers. But while mask wearing has become something of a partisan symbol, DeWine said it shouldn’t be.

When lawmakers came back for session the last three weeks, some Republicans – including Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) – were maskless.  Some Republican members have been publicly touting their opposition to any kind of mask wearing in public, including Rep. Nino Vitale and Rep. Candace Keller (R-Middletown).

In an interview for "The State of Ohio", DeWine was asked if that’s a mixed message being sent to Ohioans, DeWine said his position is clear, but it’s up to them.

“I'm not going to tell them what to do, whether to wear a mask or not in session. The only thing that I would say is the medical science clearly shows that we respect one another when we wear a mask, and that's the best thing to do," DeWine said.

DeWine said something similar on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday: "This is not about politics. This is not about whether you are liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican or Democrat."

When asked about not wearing a mask at his press gaggle after session on May 6, Householder said he didn’t own a mask.

Masks are recommended in the Statehouse, but not required.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.