Rhode Island mayor: People not wearing coronavirus masks should be 'socially shamed'

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The mayor of Providence, R.I., Jorge Elorza, encouraged residents on Tuesday to "socially shame" those who don't wear masks in public, to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Elorza, a Democrat, appeared on a WPRO radio show with host Gene Valicenti and claimed shaming was the only way to keep order during the crisis, according to The Providence Journal.

“You should socially shame them, so they fall in line,” he said. Valicenti disagreed with the mayor, saying that his suggestion could be a catalyst for chaos.

“You’re going to come across the wrong guy,” Valicenti replied.

On Friday, Rhode Islanders will be required to wear masks when going out in public, after Gov. Gina Raimondo issued an executive order on Tuesday, making masks mandatory.

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Elorza said people must help law enforcement by checking one another and by encouraging their fellow citizens to abide by government protocols.

“We can’t let our guard down right now,” he said. “We need people to self-police.

“I don’t think it has to be a confrontational thing,” Elorza added. “There’s a role for every person to play to make sure everyone else is a part of the solution.”

Valicenti later told his listeners, "Don’t shame anybody. Just mind your own business and keep going. That’s my advice.”

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As of Thursday afternoon, there were over 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and over 75,000 deaths.