‘An Easy Decision’: Govs Reverse Decision, Now Require Mask Wearing Across Their States

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat, and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, have mandated that residents in their respective states wear personal protective masks.

The orders were announced over the weekend, coming as a reversal to stances taken by both governors.

During ABC News’ “This Week” Sunday, Hutchinson admitted he did not wish to order people to wear masks but he felt he needed to do so to relieve the pressure the healthcare community was facing.

“(The mask mandate was) not something I wanted to do, but it’s something everybody can do to relieve the pressure on our hospitals, to give us a hope to bring down those cases and so we’ve taken the steps that are necessary,” he said via ABC News. “If we have to put in additional restrictions, we will.”

Polis similarly said he did not wish to impede the lives and liberty of his residents: “tell(ing) people what to wear or what to do in their lives.” He said, however, the data supporting mask-wearing was definitive.

In Colorado, he said, cities that required residents to wear masks had “15 to 20% more mask usage and lower spread of the virus.” And thus, ordering the rest of the state to comply was an “easy decision.”

Interestingly, Hutchinson said he did not support a national mandate for people to wear masks. He said the states should evaluate their own data and make their own decisions.

Host Martha Raddatz asked, “How is that helpful to a governor like you who wants people to wear masks?”

“Well, I don’t support a national mask mandate. I think the states are addressing this,” the governor answered via ABC News. He also clarified that public policy officials, including President Trump, should wear a mask. “We need to wear a mask. That example needs to be set by our national leadership,” he said.

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Polis joined-in: “I think what’s important for people to know is that this is not ideological, it’s not partisan, it’s science-based.”

“Masks are a ticket to more freedom. It makes it less likely that businesses will be shuttered, it makes it less likely that people will die, it makes it more likely school will return,” he added, per the report.

“Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, Libertarians — doesn’t matter,” Polis continued. “If we care about those things, you’re going to take that as a matter of personal responsibility to wear a mask, protect yourself, protect others, protect our economy.”