Parson ‘chose not to’ wear mask in store, he says

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has a simple reason for not wearing a face mask during a visit to a southwestern Missouri thrift store.

“I chose not to,” Parson said tersely Monday in response to a reporter’s question.

Parson’s stay-at-home order ended Sunday, and businesses reopened across most of Missouri a day later, except in St. Louis, St. Louis County and Kansas City. Parson, a Republican, spent the morning visiting several businesses in southwestern Missouri.

Among them was a thrift shop in Joplin operated by the Disabled American Veterans. A photo posted on Parson’s Twitter account shows him bare-faced but surrounded by mask-wearing veterans.

“I think it’s up to the individual,” Parson said in response to a question at his afternoon news conference. “I don’t think its government’s role to mandate who wears a mask and who doesn’t.”

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence chose not to wear a mask while touring the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in apparent violation of the medical center’s policy requiring them.

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