North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is asking residents to avoid “mask shaming” people who are wearing protective gear because of the coronavirus.
The Republican governor and ardent supporter of President Trump said during a Friday news briefing that people who choose to wear masks deserve “support and encouragement” because they may be protecting someone who is vulnerable to the virus.
He pleaded with residents to avoid what he called a "senseless dividing line" over the use of masks.
"If someone is wearing a mask, they're not doing it to represent what political party they're in or what candidates they support. They might be doing it because they've got a 5-year-old child who's been going through cancer treatments. They might have vulnerable adults in their life who currently have COVID and are fighting."
Burgum called on people to treat others who choose to wear masks amid the pandemic to be treated with empathy and understanding.
North Dakota doesn't have state requirements for wearing masks, but Burgum said masks could be the new normal and compared them to the evolution of helmet use by bicyclists, hockey players and bull riders.