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Coronavirus In Ohio: House Speaker Still Won't Require Lawmakers To Wear Face Masks

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder
Paul Vernon

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, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, has been critical of some of the governor's COVID-19 responses.

Householder said he thought the speech was good, but 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," Houserholder says. "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, who says he does not own a face mask, said he talked to DeWine the night before the speech, but didn’t pressure him not to order shutdowns or a statewide mask mandate.

Although health experts advise both face masks and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Householder says he simply stays away from people.

“I stay more than six feet away, 10 feet away from people constantly," Householder says. "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 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.

State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) revealed last week that she has COVID-19, and Householder says three House staffers have also tested positive.