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Gov. Noem: Don’t Shame People Who Don’t Wear COVID Masks – ‘That’s Not What America’s About’

By Craig Bannister | February 18, 2021 | 4:14pm EST
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
(Screenshot)

South Dakota won’t have a double-mask mandate, “That’s for sure” – and people shouldn’t shame others who choose not to wear a coronavirus mask – Governor Kristi Noem says.

“Don’t put words in my mouth,” the South Dakota governor said when a reporter claimed she doubted the effectiveness of coronavirus masks. Her objection is to requiring the citizens of her state to wear them, she said.

Instead, people should be free to take personal responsibility and make their own decisions about what’s best for themselves and their loved ones, Gov. Noem said.

“I think it’s inappropriate for us to shame people who choose not to wear a mask. That’s not what America’s about and it’s not what South Dakota’s about,” the governor added.

And, since she won’t force people to wear one mask, she definitely won’t require them to wear two. “Not coming in South Dakota. So, I will not be doing that, that’s for sure,” Gov. Noem promised.

Reporter: “You’ve been resistant to implement mask mandates. You’re skeptical of their efficacy”…

Gov. Noem: “I never said that, Joe. Don’t put words in my mouth.

“What I said that the appropriate mask, at the appropriate time, utilized correctly and kept sanitary, can make a difference.

“But, I also don’t believe it’s my role to mandate that people wear a mask. I’ve left, for the entire year, it up to personal responsible to make the best decisions for them and their families, and I’ll continue to do that.”

Reporter: “So, now that the CDC is recommending two masks”…

Gov. Noem: “Well, the CDC has changed their recommendations many, many times. In fact, we’ve seen the CDC change their recommendations based on political pressure in the past. I choose to rely on science and data and facts. And, masks can work in certain situations if you’re wearing the right kind and you’re doing it appropriately.

“But, I’m not going to mandate it. It’s not an argument over whether masks work or if they don’t work. I’ve never argued that. What I argue is the mandate. I think the mandate is inappropriate, for government to come in and mandate that somebody wear a mask.

“And, I think it’s inappropriate for us to shame people who choose not to wear a mask. That’s not what America’s about and it’s not what South Dakota’s about.”

Reporter: “So, no double-mask mandate coming?”

Gov. Noem: “Not coming in South Dakota. So, I will not be doing that. That’s for sure.”

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