State legislators make mask-wearing partisan despite Pa. Senator testing positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — At the Pa. State capitol, mask-wearing has become partisan. Many conservative Republicans refuse to wear them and one state Senator recently tested positive after hosting a hearing.

Just after the hearing in Gettysburg, Senator Doug Mastriano tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Associated Press. While he responded to ABC27 saying he feels “fantastic,” Senator Mastriano declined to be interviewed.

State Representative Dan Moul (R-Adams County) was at the Gettysburg hearing. He arrived wearing a mask but then removed it to participate in the panel discussion. He says he went mask-less because of the microphone.

“It comes out muffled[…] I’m on a panel like that I’m separated from the crowd,” Rep. Moul explained, adding that he trusts his colleagues to do the right thing and quarantine if they knowingly contracted Coronavirus.

When ABC27 Dennis Owens responded, explaining that Moul was in close proximity to Senator Mastriano–who has now tested positive for the novel coronavirus–he asked if Rep. Moul was concerned.

“Sure I’m concerned,” Moul said.

There are a handful of conservative Republicans, Moul among them, who reject the mask-wearing guidance urged by the state Department of Health and CDC. He says they’re rebelling against Governor Tom Wolf. Lawmakers have expressed extreme frustration with Wolf’s shutdown orders and his refusal to engage with lawmakers in dealing with the pandemic.

“[The people on] our side of the aisle are basically telling him to shove it because they’re sick of his draconian rules and regulations that he does without any thought and all of the businesses he’s destroying without any documentation, data, or evidence,” Moul said.

Representative Malcolm Kenyata (D-Philadelphia) calls the Republican’s actions a “deadly disease” that doesn’t care about political parties.

Rep. Kenyatta also says Democrats are troubled by mask-less House Republicans who are jeopardizing not only their own health but that of colleagues and loved ones.

“One of the most important jobs we have as elected officials is to keep the people of Pennsylvania safe and the way we do that is by modeling the good behavior we want to see from other Pennsylvanians,” Kenyatta explained.

Wolf’s Spokeswoman Lyndsay Kensinger said in a statement that lawmakers refusing to wear masks is like telling doctors, nurses, and first responders that they just don’t care.

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