When the lockdown began in March, my family and I hunkered down into full isolation realizing that we were buying our nation and Ohio a runway to get ahead of COVID. Our compliance was vital to the health of our neighbors and to a speedy and fast economic recovery. 

We were also terrified of contracting COVID which could have life-threatening implications for my step-daughter due to her chronic variant asthma.

I’ll never forget my first trip outside of the house. 

I had to run to Target for something we needed urgently. I showed up with my gloves, my hand sanitizer and my mask – and felt a pang of fear before walking inside. Like most moms I know, Target is usually a refuge and sanctuary to shop and peruse. But not this time. 

When I walked in I saw, to my shock and surprise that at least half of my fellow shoppers weren’t wearing masks. The tension between the mask-wearers and maskless was palpable and I left heartbroken knowing our runway would evaporate if we weren’t all complying with the recommendations of doctors and scientists. 

Could it really all be for nothing? 

The bubbles of misinformation some of us live in, which are fueled by this Administration and a complicit Congressman who walks around in public without a mask, are leaving us at odds with one another. I also felt like shopping at Target had put me and my family at risk. So, I decided not to return to Target until masks were required. 

This week, that day finally came. 

Target joined Walmart, CVS and a number of other national chains in requiring masks. Corporations, motivated by profits, have decided the most profitable decision is that we mask up. And yet, we still don’t have that mandate from Washington. 

Unfortunately, in the absence of true leadership, the onus for safety is falling entirely on us as individuals to do the very best we can to protect ourselves, our families and one another. And that, my friends, is a terrible feeling to have during a state of emergency. 

Instead, we should be a united front.

Yesterday nearly all of Ohio’s 12th District was upgraded to a level Red by the state of Ohio, which means masks will be required in all public places (indoors and out) after 6:00 PM this evening. 

The state website lacks any specifics on what this means for events stating that we should “limit activities as much as possible.” With that in mind, our campaign has made the very difficult decision to cancel all events for the foreseeable future.

This decision did not come lightly. 

The interaction with all of you at markets and on the street has been incredible, but the risk is simply not worth the cost. My fear is that we are headed straight to a Level Purple, which would be devastating for our businesses and working families as schools would then be online only.

Leaving you with some John Locke today. I’m almost certain he would be wearing a mask. 

“All being equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…. And he as much as he can, ought to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.

Stay safe and stay home, Ohio!