Coronavirus: Mandatory masks should only be approved by lawmakers, bill says

Around 300 people went shopping Tuesday morning at the Dayton Mall. The doors opened at 11 a.m. for 50 people waiting at the doors. About half the stores appeared to be open and about half the shoppers in the mall were wearing masks. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

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Around 300 people went shopping Tuesday morning at the Dayton Mall. The doors opened at 11 a.m. for 50 people waiting at the doors. About half the stores appeared to be open and about half the shoppers in the mall were wearing masks. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Republican state Rep. Nino Vitale, who refuses to wear a mask because he says his face is in the image of God, is sponsoring legislation that would make it difficult to impose a universal mask order on the public.

No mask order would be allowed without a two-thirds majority vote by both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly if Vitale’s bill becomes law.

Last month, Vitale made national news when he announced he wouldn’t wear a face mask to protect against the spread of COVID19 because it would cover “the image and likeness of God.”

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Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and Gov. Mike DeWine, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend face coverings in public to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Cloth face coverings can prevent asymptomatic people from inadvertently spreading the coronavirus to others through respiratory droplets. Masks should not be used by people with breathing trouble or for children under age 2, the CDC says.

ExploreCOMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

House Bill 682 is co-sponsored by 11 Republicans, including Miami Valley area representatives John Becker, George Lang, Phil Plummer and Paul Zeltwanger.

DeWine initially announced that Ohioans would be required to wear facial coverings in public but quickly reversed course after hearing negative feedback from people who view mandatory masks as a government overreach.

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