Ohio Governor Does About-Face, Calls Masks A ‘Mandate Too Far’

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine reversed course Tuesday on a statewide face-covering requirement, one day after he announced the rule intended to prevent shoppers from unknowingly spreading the coronavirus as they exhale or cough.

DeWine’s order, announced Monday, would have gone into effect at retail stores May 12.

On Tuesday, the governor said he’d changed his mind after receiving “a lot” of critical phone calls, including one from the mother of a child with autism who said her family wouldn’t be able to comply.

“This was offensive and people looked at this and they said, ‘That is one government mandate too far. I’m not. This is wrong,’” DeWine (R) said during a press conference in Columbus.

Workers will still be required to wear face coverings on the job when the state re-opens manufacturing, construction, and office buildings to in-person work on May 4.

Meanwhile, Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) said she would issue an order requiring everyone in her state to wear a face covering in public.

“My primary consideration is public health,” Mills said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Ebert in Columbus, Ohio at aebert@bloomberglaw.com; Adrianne Appel in Boston at aappel@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com; Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com

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