Gov. Mike DeWine, who has the power to make wearing a mask mandatory, bemoans the politicization of an issue that has turned going without facial coverings into a MAGA rallying cry that increasingly endangers frontline retail workers

Over the weekend, Gov. Mike DeWine, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said that wearing facial coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus should not be a political issue. “This is not about whether you’re liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican [or] Democrat,” he said. “We wear the mask, and it’s very clear what the studies have shown, you wear the mask not to protect yourself so much as others.”

DeWine initially said that masks would be required in public, but quickly recanted, making the wearing of facial coverings a recommendation rather than a mandate. “People were not going to accept the government telling them what to do,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” 

Instead, the onus has fallen on individual businesses, which can require patrons to wear masks but now must deal with the fallout from a (very) vocal, (very) small anti-mask contingent. Witness the Book Loft, which posted about its mask requirement on Facebook and was met with a steady stream of comments such as: “I'd never shop there. Mandatory masks?? Lol. Lawsuit waiting for you.” Not that the indie retailer was in any way intimidated.

Also, if DeWine wants to further address how masks have become a political issue, perhaps he could take some corrective steps by getting other members of his party on board with wearing them, at least while in session, at a bare minimum. Or he could revisit that flip-flopped statewide mandate so those few loud anti-maskers might not feel quite as empowered to bully those largely minimum wage retail workers who are tasked with enforcing corporate policies. Those frontline employees deserve the added muscle and support a governmental order could command.

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It appears as this will be a critical week for Major League Baseball, with players and owners currently locked in intensive negotiations to determine exactly how a 2020 season might unfold, if at all. Over at ESPN, Jeff Passan breaks down the negotiations, detailing key hang-ups and what a baseball season could look like in the age of COVID-19. Even with games likely taking place in empty stadiums, sports fans would likely rejoice at any return to live action after dealing with the steady stream of replays that have filled sports network schedules for months.

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There’s still no word on any potential opening for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which means I’m going to have to wait a little bit longer to meet its most excellent new resident. To further stoke excitement, Columbus Monthly just posted a photo gallery detailing the zoo’s new Adventure Cove exhibit, which will soon be populated by 10 California sea lions and four harbor seals, in addition to this one stoked dad.