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Gov. Mike DeWine urges Ohioans to not view masks as a political issue: 'It's about protecting each other'

On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that wearing a mask shouldn't be viewed as a political issue.

As Ohio gets back to business, one of the biggest debates that has continued has been whether or not the general public should be wearing protective masks.

On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine continued his support for the safety measure and let it be known that the subject should be seen as a political one.

"This is not about politics. This is not about liberal or conservative. This is not a liberal or conservative issue. This is an issue of, 'How do I protect my neighbor? How do I protect people that I love? How do I protect people that I don't even know?'" DeWine said. "We just need to get beyond that this some sort of political issue. It's not at all. It's about protecting each other. It's as old as the scriptures -- 'love your neighbor.' I don't know any other way to express it."

DeWine's comments come two weeks after retail stores in the state were first permitted to reopen amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Initially, both employees and customers were required to wear face coverings, although after facing backlash, DeWine quickly decided to make face coverings only encouraged for customers, while employees have still be required to wear them.

In defending his pro-mask stance, DeWine admitted the measure isn't a perfect one. But he reiterated that it's just one of many safety measures that can be used to help prevent the spread of the virus.

"Is it perfect? No, we know it's not perfect. But it's another layer," he said. "And the evidence is clear it is another layer. And so if you have the option to use another layer, why don't we just use it? And again, I think more and more Ohioans are going to continue to do this. I'm an optimist and I'm confident."

As of Tuesday, Ohio has had 33,006 confirmed and probable positive coronavirus cases, including 5,579 hospitalizations, 1,450 ICU admissions and 2,002 deaths.

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