November 17, 2020
Governor Walz today announced that beginning on Saturday, Minnesotans will be required to wear a face covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings. Researchers have advocated for masking, calling it a simple and effective step to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. To date, 30 states across the country, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico have issued similar mandates.
“COVID-19 has impacted every corner of our state and every aspect of our lives,” said Governor Walz. “But as Minnesotans always do during tough times, we come together and we take care of one another. And right now there’s no better way to demonstrate our Minnesotan values than by wearing a mask. By combatting the spread of COVID-19, masking will help protect our neighbors, keep our businesses open, and get us on track to return to the activities we love.”
“Wearing a mask is one of the best ways we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent Minnesotans from getting sick in the first place,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “As someone who has lost a loved one to this virus, I know that every death we can prevent is another family who does not have to feel this kind of grief. Masking up helps us keep businesses open, socialize safely, and embrace a new normal. But most importantly, it will save lives.”
The Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Minnesota Department of Health will be working together to distribute masks to underserved communities and businesses across the state. Over the past several weeks, business owners and medical professionals have been showing their support for a mask mandate, saying it removed the burden for them to enforce people’s behaviors.
Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering are exempt from the order. These individuals should consider using alternatives to face coverings, including clear face shields, and staying at home as much as possible. Children who are five-years-old and under are also exempt. Those who are under two-years-old should never wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation.