HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A republican lawmaker from Butler County is railing against mandates requiring Pennsylvanians — in certain conditions — to wear face masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
This is the same state representative who wants Governor Tom Wolf to be impeached, along with several of his House GOP colleagues.
“Many who are advocating that citizens be required to wear masks are from the ‘my body, my choice’ crowd,” said Daryl Metcalfe Tuesday morning before a House committee meeting.
So Metcalfe says, game on — he’s applying that phrase to the mask-wearing debate.
“I think every American citizen has a right to choose whether or not they’re going to wear a mask if they believe that’s the best thing for them,” he said.
Tuesday, Metcalfe began the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meeting — which he chairs — calling out a new rule from the Bipartisan Management Committee, or BMC.
Recently, the BMC adopted a policy mandating all legislators wear a mask in its meetings. Metcalfe disagrees saying they cannot require such a thing, and believes lawmakers and Pennsylvanians alike should have the freedom to choose what works best for them.
“They have no authority to dictate to members whether they gotta wear a hat in a meeting or a mask in a meeting,” he said. “Wolf or any level of government has no right to mandate to citizens whether they’re going to wear a mask or not.”
Governor Wolf refuted Metcalfe’s claims in a press release sent out hours after the representative’s comments, saying face coverings do reduce exposure from asymptomatic, but unknowingly infectious, people.
Last week, the Governor called masks a vital tool in the fight to stop the spread of the virus.
“Masks actually do work, it’s not a political statement — they actually work,” Wolf said June 17. “The virus is neither republican nor democrat, liberal or conservative – it’s out there to get us.”
To those who say masks infringe on their freedoms, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams recently tweeted, “…if more wear them, we’ll have more freedom to go out.”
Metcalfe however, believes regulating public health has gone too far.
“There’s a lot of things you can do that you can make an argument that it’s going to protect people,” he said. “You could shut down all of the roads and not allow people to drive, you wouldn’t have accidents anymore, you wouldn’t have a loss of life on the highways.”
According to Health Secretary Rachel Levine’s April 15 order, businesses are required to enforce mask-wearing for customers, unless someone has an underlying health condition. That order does apply to counties both in yellow and/or green phases of reopening.