Multiple Republican Governors Reject CDC Mask Guidance Renewal

By CAROLINE DOWNEY – July 27, 2021 7:10 PM – for National Review

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md., in 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Multiple Republican governors rejected the CDC’s mask guidance renewal Tuesday that recommends some vaccinated individuals in locations with greater rates of infection, as well as everyone in K-12 schools, resume mask-wearing in certain indoor venues.

Republican Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts published statement Tuesday titled, “Nebraska’s Return to Normal Won’t Be Interrupted by New CDC Guidance.” Ricketts wrote that schools in his state will conduct in-person learning this fall without mask or vaccine constraints. He implied that the CDC’s continual contradictory advisories are exacerbating hesitancy among those who have chosen to abstain from the shot.

“The CDC’s new guidance suggesting that vaccinated people wear masks indoors flies in the face of the public health goals that should guide the agency’s decision making. The CDC announcement only furthers the distrust many have with the CDC and does not help to encourage more people to get the vaccines that are helping bring the pandemic to a conclusion. The State of Nebraska will not be adopting their mask guidance,” Ricketts declared.

He added that vaccination is a personal choice, and urged the CDC to stop interfering with people’s lives and attempts to return to normalcy. “It’s time for the CDC and the government to get out of the way, and to stop trying to tell people how to live their lives,” the Nebraska governor wrote.

Similarly, Republican Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds released a statement Tuesday in the aftermath of the CDC’s update indicating that the state will not participate in the agency’s new regulations and will continue to let residents make their own public health decisions. Reynolds echoed Ricketts’s concerns that reinstatement of mandatory face coverings for even the inoculated further erodes confidence in the vaccine.

“The Biden Administration’s new COVID-19 guidance telling fully vaccinated Iowans to now wear masks is not only counterproductive to our vaccination efforts, but also not grounded in reality or common sense. I’m concerned that this guidance will be used as a vehicle to mandate masks in states and schools across the country, something I do not support,” Reynolds stated.

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was one of the first governors to relax COVID rules and restrictions in his state, doubled-down on his opposition to mask requirements for children during a roundtable discussion with experts Monday, Fox News reported.

“I think our fear is is that seeing some of those rumblings, that there be an attempt from the federal level or even some of these organizations to try to push for mandatory masking of school children. And so our view is that this should absolutely not be imposed. It should not be mandated,” DeSantis commented.

DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw suggested to Fox News that the governor will not implement the CDC’s mask guidance reversal in Florida, like Iowa and Nebraska, because it lacks sound scientific justification.

“It isn’t based in science. There is no indication that areas with mask mandates have performed any better than areas without mask mandates. In fact, this policy could actually backfire,” Pushaw said.

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