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West Virginia GOP governor: 'I don't know really what the big rush to get rid of the mask is'

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) expressed misgivings in an interview with CNN Thursday about fellow GOP governors in Texas and Mississippi eliminating mask mandates, saying the state would maintain its own restrictions for the time being.

“I’m not going to let this become a political football,” Justice told CNN’s John King. “In West Virginia, we want to be cautious, we want to be safe, we want to be respectful of everybody’s rights and everything, and we’ve done the right thing all through this thing.”

Throughout the pandemic, Justice said, “we’ve always listened to the experts and we’ve always let them lead us … we’ve been bold but we’ve been cautious.”

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"If we continue to vaccinate more and more and more, we'll get rid of the mask. But I don't know really what the big rush to get rid of the mask is because these masks have saved a lot, a lot of lives," he added. Justice added that he and his medical advisers have yet to discuss eliminating the mask mandate. “If we don’t watch out, we can make some mistakes.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves both announced this week that they will fully lift all state mask mandates and limits on business capacity. Major retailers such as Target, CVS Health and Aldi, however, have said they will keep their own mask requirements in place even in the states undoing mandates.