Pictures of people at political rallies in Ohio recently have shown most of them unmasked, in large crowds. The state’s mask mandate has gone unenforced at those events.
Gov. Mike DeWine says the state hasn’t enforced the mask mandate in churches because he respects the freedom of religion or at political demonstrations where Ohioans are exercising free speech. The governor also says political events fall into that protected category under the mandate, but he says that with a strong warning.
“We really urge anyone who is conducting a rally, attending a rally, while we don’t require you to do it, the order does not say you have to, but please wear a mask. Please do social distancing," DeWine says.
Those pleas will probably go unheeded by many based on the lack of masks being worn at political rallies in the recent weeks, including one with Vice President Mike Pence in Zanesville on Wednesday, where the crowd booed at the mention of DeWine’s name.
President Trump is set to visit Ohio on Monday and the Biden campaign is also exploring options for in-person political events in Ohio.