Mask mandates inconsistent across southern states

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As coronavirus cases flare up in some areas of the country, states in the south are split on whether or not to mandate mask-wearing.

“All of us understand the importance of wearing masks,” Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) said.

The Georgia congressman believes in wearing masks without being forced.

Mayors in his state – in cities from Atlanta to Savannah – have tried enforcing local mask requirements. But they are currently being blocked by the governor.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted calls from Democrats and some doctors asking him to issue a statewide mask mandate. The governor instead has said he trusts Floridians to make good decisions. Several cities and counties have issued their own local mandates, including in Jacksonville – the city set to host next month’s Republican National Convention.

“This is something very simple,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) said about wearing masks.

The Florida congresswoman worries the inconsistency across Sunbelt states is one of the reasons her state is hitting record highs.

“There’s nothing like having leadership from the top. President Trump’s resistance to wearing a mask or advising folks should wear a mask has been a real failure,” Castor added.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Tuesday the president has kept a consistent message that “masks, according to the CDC, are recommended but not required.”

But the Centers for Disease Control is asking Americans to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The White House hasn’t called for a nationwide mask mandate.

While he is rarely seen wearing one in public, President Trump called wearing a mask “patriotic” in a tweet Monday.

We asked one lawmaker in North Carolina, where masks are required statewide, if it’s helping and if President Trump should institute a nationwide mask mandated.

“Yes and yes,” Rep. David Price (D-NC) said.

Price said the governor’s statewide mandate is keeping cases down and he hopes other states follow suit.

“Right now I think it’s the most important preventive measure we can take,” Price added.

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