Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday his state is “headed in the wrong direction” in coronavirus cases, and that he’s “certainly looking at” a statewide face mask mandate.
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” DeWine said 60% of counties have already have a mandate in place on facial coverings in certain settings.
“While we did a great job early on in Ohio, we are now headed in the wrong direction,” he said. “Frankly, I’m very, very concerned about that. We’re going to move ahead with orders. You’re going to see more orders from us this week, but I again want to emphasize it’s not all about orders. You’ve got to get people to come along with you as you do this.”
According to DeWine, Ohio was one of the first states “to put in place a very sophisticated policy about how you reopen, and that has included a mask requirement for every employee.”
“As far as customers now coming in, as you’ve pointed out, we’re at 60%,” he said. “Frankly, we’ve seen that go up as our counties have turned red. We’re going the wrong way. We’re at a crucial time.”
“And so this week you may see a lot more counties under that mask requirement, so we certainly would not rule out going statewide. We’re certainly looking at that, but there’s a lot of things going on."
DeWine said new COVID-19 cases appear to be fueled by crowds in bars, churches, but also “in casual settings.”
"It’s occurring in bars. It’s occurring in churches. It’s occurring from people who have traveled out of state,” he said. “But a lot of it, frankly, is just people in casual settings: 20, 30, 40, 50 people gathering together. So it’s not all about orders. Orders are important. But it’s also about getting people to understand this is very, very serious.:”
DeWine said he plans a new ad campaign out this week to raise awareness for mask-wearing.
“Really, the message is that you wear the mask for other people," he said. "You wear the mask to protect your grandmother. It’s not just the orders. The orders are obviously important, but getting people to buy in and to understand – getting a 20-year-old to understand – he or she may feel invulnerable, nothing is going to happen to them, but they may get it, they may not know they have it, they may go home and see their grandmother, she may get it and she may end up dying. That’s the message that we’re trying to get out across the state of Ohio.”
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