May 3, 2020 - Health

Ohio governor says face mask requirement in stores was "a bridge too far"

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) explained his decision to rescind an order requiring people to wear face masks in retail stores, stating on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that it "became clear to me that that was just a bridge too far. People were not going to accept the government telling them what to do."

Why it matters: DeWine has earned praise for his aggressive and early steps to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus in Ohio, such as closing schools before any governor in the country and postponing the state's March 17 primary.

  • His decision to reverse himself on the face mask requirement reflects a challenge that dozens of governors are navigating as they attempt to enforce public safety measures while not angering their constituents by overstepping.

What he's saying: "We put out dozens and dozens of orders. That was one that it just went too far. But at the same time we pulled that back, I said that, look, this is highly recommended."

  • DeWine added that wearing a mask in retail stores — if customers are able — is the "kind thing" to do in order to keep store workers and fellow customers safe.

The big picture: Ohio has reported 19,914 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,038 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Go deeper