In an interview with ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine admitted that his statewide mandate that Ohio residents wear face masks while in stores was “a bridge too far” because people are simply “not going to accept the government telling them what to do.” In a candid moment, the governor explained his political rationale for ultimately rescinding the order.
“You did something that not too many politicians do: you did an about face,” “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz said to DeWine, who was streaming in from Cedarville, Ohio. “You first announced that everyone would be required to wear face masks when retailers opened, and then you reversed yourself when some of your citizens said it was offensive. Talk me through the thinking on that — because we’re just talking about face masks. ”
“Face masks are very important, and our business group came back and said every employee, for example, should wear a face mask. So we’re continuing that, whether it’s retail or wholesale, whatever it is, every employee is going to have a face mask,” DeWine replied.
But while employees in the state are required to wear face masks, the Republican governor explained, he has pulled back the initial order requiring that customers do the same because that degree of government imposition was just “too far” for many residents.
“It became clear to me that that was just a bridge too far, that people were not going to accept the government telling them what to do,” said DeWine. “We put out dozens and dozens of orders, that was one that just went too far.”
“At the same time we pulled that back, I said this is highly recommended,” the governor added. “For most people, unless you’ve got a physical reason you can’t wear a mask, and we understand that, but when you go into a retail store that is the kind thing to do because I worry — and we should all worry — about the folks who are stocking shelves in grocery stores, the people in the checkout line who work there all day, and we’ve got to try to protect them.”
DeWine made sure to praise Ohioans for how they’ve handled the lockdown measures thus far and for their success in “flattening the curve,” then presented a candid explanation for why he ultimately felt compelled to reverse himself on the order.
“My ability to communicate to the people of Ohio, frankly, I thought, was going to be really impeded and we were going to get hung up on the mandatory masks for someone going in as a customer — and it just wasn’t going to work,” said DeWine.
“So you gotta know what you can do and what you can’t do,” the governor added with a laugh.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tells @MarthaRaddatz his statewide order mandating face masks be worn in stores went "too far."
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 3, 2020
As ABC News highlights, DeWine was “one of the first governors to implement statewide closures amid the novel coronavirus outbreak — closing schools on March 12 and postponing state primaries on March 17.”
“While Americans across the partisan divide agree that state coronavirus restrictions on businesses are appropriate, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll shows Democrats are more concerned about contracting the virus while Republican respondents would be more likely to get out if and when the rules change,” ABC notes.
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