‘A bold statement’: ReOpen NC starts ‘burn your mask challenge’ on social media

NORTH CAROLINA — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Monday he is considering making masks mandatory in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In response, the group ReOpen NC showed their disapproval of the notion by creating a new social media challenge -- the “Burn Your Mask Challenge.”

The group’s organizer Ashley Smith told local news outlets it all comes down to the issue of rights.

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“This comes down to an issue of rights, and what the constitution guarantees American citizens and it is my right to buy property and destroy it," Smith said. “It’s a bold statement. We sort of have a knack for that.”

Smith also questions the science behind face masks. She cited the packaging label when saying it was intended for “general purpose” use.

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Posted by Reopen NC on Monday, 15 June 2020

Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen argues science points to wearing a mask is an effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“There continues to be more and more studies that come out even in the last week or ten days,” Cohen said. “The studies are now looking at face coverings directly in the COVID-19 context, before we were looking at studies on how face coverings look for other respiratory illness.”

The ReOpen NC group has more than 80,000 followers on Facebook. While some of their followers called the challenge “immature” or “selfish," others supported it saying it sends a message.

“I don’t see it as immature, I see it as sending a statement,” Smith said. “I think it’s extremely selfish to tell someone they have to wear a mask.”

The governor’s office has not responded to the social media challenge.

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