Ohio state Rep. Nino Vitale (R) is refusing to wear a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as recommended by Gov. Mike DeWine (R) to help limit the spread of the virus, claiming that doing so is like covering the face of God.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Monday, Vitale cited his religious believes to explain his decision: “This is the greatest nation on earth founded on Judeo-Christian Principles. 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. I will not wear a mask,” he wrote.
Vitale said that his post came in response to the governor’s mandate that would have required people to wear masks at businesses in the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. DeWine announced last month that people in Ohio would be required to wear faces masks in stores as the state begins reopening certain businesses this month. However, he reversed the mandate shortly after the announcement because “people were not going to accept the government telling them what to do.”
The Facebook post by Vitale also called on counties in the state to “ignore the unelected Dr. Acton’s orders” and “open your counties now, before it’s too late.”
“This is not based on logic, this is based on fear and propaganda and every statistical, data driven study done in the last 2 weeks says death counts are low, the models were wrong, and this is more like the flu,” he concluded.
More than 19,600 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Ohio alone as of Monday, as well as more than 970 confirmed deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health.