Gov. DeWine Says He Thinks Americans Are ‘Better Off Not Having Government Tell Us What to Do’


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine admitted during a Sunday interview that his policy requiring retail customers to wear a face mask was “a bridge too far.”

Despite the numerous executive actions he has taken during the pandemic, including the postponement of Ohio’s presidential primary, the governor portrayed himself as a small-government conservative.

DeWine released a “Responsible RestartOhio Plan” last week that required all customers of any retail business to wear a face mask. The next day, however, he changed his mind about the policy after learning that some Ohioans found it “offensive.”

“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, manufacturing, every employee’s going to have the face mask,” DeWine said during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

“But it became very clear to me after we put out the order that everyone in retail who walked into a store as a customer would have to do that, 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,” he added.

DeWine said the mandatory face-mask policy would have “impeded” his ability to “communicate to the people of Ohio.”

“We would get hung up on the mandatory masks for someone going in as a customer and it just wasn’t going to work. And so you got to know what you can do and what you can’t do,” he said.

The governor also seemed to indicate that he was unaware of the “partisan divide” on how Americans view the coronavirus. A recent ABC News poll found that Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to return to normal activities once restrictions are lifted.

“I’m not really sure. I’m not sure – you know, you’ve got those figures, I’ve not heard those figures before. But I think generally Republicans are less inclined to have the government tell them what to do. And that’s generally how I am. I’m a conservative Republican. I think we’re better off not having the government tell us what to do,” DeWine said.

Watch the full interview:

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].







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