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Lawmaker Won't Wear Mask Over Religious Beliefs

Ohio Rep. Nino Vitale says humans are created in God's image, and he won't cover up
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2020 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – An Ohio state lawmaker is refusing to wear a mask because, well, it would cover his face. In a Monday Facebook post, GOP Rep. Nino Vitale cited his religious beliefs in refusing Republican Gov. Mike DeWine's recommendation to wear a mask to limit the spread of COVID-19, per the Hill. "This is the greatest nation on earth founded on Judeo-Christian Principles," Vitale wrote. "One of those principles is that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. That image is seen the most by our face." Therefore, "I will not wear a mask."

With the state moving to reopening certain nonessential businesses, DeWine announced April 27 that people in stores would be required to wear masks. However, he quickly reversed course, saying masks would be recommended but not mandated. Vitale's post included video clips of DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton discussing the recommendation. He directed officials to "ignore the unelected Dr. Acton's orders" and "open your counties now, before it's too late." He also asserted the virus was no worse than the flu, though research to date on COVID-19 shows it has a higher death rate and is more contagious, per Live Science. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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