Walz Close to Announcing Decision on Statewide Mask Mandate
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says he is close to announcing a decision on whether to require people across the state to wear face masks as a way to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Walz said Tuesday that Minnesotans can expect a decision in the next day or two. Tonight, his office announced a press conference for tomorrow to announce the next steps in the state’s response to COVID-19. The Governor has hinted strongly that he will be announcing a statewide mandate.
The City of Bemidji, though, didn’t want to wait any longer on a mask mandate discussion from the Governor. As Lakeland News first reported Monday night, Bemidji became the latest city to pass a mask mandate. Mayor Rita Albrecht and Council Members Michael Meehlhause and Emelie Rivera voted in favor of the amendment to the city’s original declaration of local emergency. Council Member Nancy Erickson voted against it, and Council Member Ron Johnson abstained from the vote.
What the new requirement means is that starting Tuesday, July 21st, people ages 5 and older must wear masks covering their nose and mouth when in indoor public spaces. That includes businesses, spaces of public accommodation, public transportation, entertainment venues, and gyms and fitness centers. There are exceptions for, among other things, when you are eating or drinking or when you are exercising. Violators could face a $1,000 fine, 90 days in jail, or both, according to the order.
The complete mask requirement guidelines can be found on the City of Bemidji’s website.