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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

As Governor Pleads For Mask Wearing, Speaker Says He Doesn't And Won't Require Them

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to reporters in the chamber after session on May 28.
House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to reporters in the chamber after session on May 28.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s Wednesday evening speech seemed to be a warning to Ohioans to wear masks or risk another round of shutdowns and closures. DeWine’s fellow Republican Speaker Larry Householder has been critical of some of DeWine’s COVID-19 responses.  But in an interview for "The State of Ohio", Householder said he thought the speech was good.

Householder said he talked to DeWine the night before the speech, but didn’t pressure him not to order shutdowns or a statewide mask mandate. 

But Householder, who has said before he doesn't own a mask, admitted DeWine’s plea to wear masks isn’t persuasive to him.

“I think that in many ways a mask provides a false sense of security. I may get closer to you than 10 feet because I'm wearing a mask and you're wearing a mask, and not necessarily is that going to provide that protection," Householder said.

Householder says he stays away from people, though experts advise social distancing and masks.

“I stay more than six feet away, ten feet away from people constantly. I do a real good job of that. I don't think it's necessary for me to wear a mask. Those are decisions that I make in how I live my life. And that's the difference of opinion," Householder said.

Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) has revealed she has COVID-19 and Householder says three House staffers have also tested positive. Householder has said before that he doesn't have the authority to institute a mask mandate on other elected officials. And he said he won’t require masks when the House comes back in September.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.