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Ohio News
Coronavirus
As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

DeWine: No Mask Mandate At Political Rallies, But Wear One Anyway

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. And he 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.

Few people wore masks at this Women for Trump event in Columbus recently
Credit Dan Konik
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Few people wore masks at this Women for Trump event in Columbus recently

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 where the crowd booed at the mention of DeWine’s name. President Trump is set to visit Ohio Monday and the Biden campaign is also exploring options for in-person political events in Ohio. 

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau