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Reopen NC starts 'burn your mask challenge' on social media

In response to Gov. Roy Cooper addressing the potential of mandated masks, Reopen NC sparks social media challenge urging people to burn their face coverings.

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper said he’s considering making masks mandatory.

RELATED: Cooper considering new rules to make face masks mandatory in North Carolina

In response, the group Reopen NC showed their disapproval by creating an online movement.

Organizer Ashley Smith is calling it the Burn Your Mask Challenge. 

#ignitefreedom #burnyourmaskchallenge #reopennc #wewillnotcomply

Posted by Reopen NC on Monday, June 15, 2020

"It's a very bold statement, we sort of have a knack for that," Smith said.

She said being forced to do anything defies personal liberty.

"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 also questions the science behind face coverings.

"This mask is not a respirator and is intended for general purpose practices," she read off one mask packaging label. "For me personally, I will not comply."

Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy K. Cohen, said the science is there. 

"There continues to be more and more studies that come out even in the last week or ten days," Dr. Cohen said in a press briefing on Monday. "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."

She said all those recent studies point to the same conclusion. 

"They continue to show us the importance of wearing a face covering to slow the spread, and face coverings really shows effectiveness when we can get many many folks doing that all together."

Some of the near 80,000 Reopen NC followers support the Burn Your Mask Challenge, and some other commenters called it out as immature and selfish.

"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."

WFMY News 2 reached out to the governor's office for response to the social media challenge, and asked when a decision will be made on masks. We did not receive an immediate response.


Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.


It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media. 

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS


The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information. 

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