WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite recent studies proving that face masks are critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19, governors in some surging states refuse to institute face mask requirements — with some going so far as to discourage such requirements — in order to protect people’s health.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts reportedly threatened to withhold shares of the state’s allotted $100 million of federal COVID-19 relief money from local governments that require people to wear face masks upon entering public buildings. Many localities are in serious need of these funds — making the governor’s proposition a nonstarter, and putting people’s health at higher risk.
“Study after study shows wearing masks is crucial to keeping people safe and limiting the spread of the coronavirus. There is no reasonable scientific or public health reason not to require people to wear masks. Governor Ricketts threatening to starve local leaders of desperately needed funds to earn cheap political points is dangerous and shameful,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are surging in states across the nation that have failed to require their citizens to wear masks in public:
- Texas saw an 11% daily increase earlier this week — but its governor, Greg Abbott, has failed to require Texans to wear masks and “prohibited local officials from penalizing people who go without them.”
- Florida hit a daily record high of 3,207 coronavirus cases — but despite the pleas of a group of physicians in the state, Governor Ron DeSantis has not required that Floridians wear face masks in public.
- Arizona has emerged as one of the country’s newest coronavirus hot spots since it lifted its statewide lockdown order after May 15 — and the state still fails to mandate the use of masks in public.
- Oklahoma saw a 68% increase in cases last week — but Governor Kevin Stitt called the decision to wear a mask in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19 “a personal preference.”