Minnesotans required to wear face coverings
Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order on July 22 which requires Minnesotans 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 virus.
“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 combating 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.”
“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. But most importantly, it will save lives,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan.
“The science is increasingly clear that wearing masks significantly cuts the risk of spreading the disease from one person to another. Without showing any symptoms you could pass the infection along to someone who is at high risk of severe illness or death,” said Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove said, “Masks are essential to protecting employees and customers.”
The mandate goes into effect on Saturday, July 25. The MDH and DEED will be working together to distribute masks to underserved communities and businesses across the state.
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. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who have a medical condition that compromises their ability to breathe and individuals who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. 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.
While the goal of this executive order is voluntary compliance, not enforcement, any individual who willfully violates the order is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and upon conviction can be punished by a fine not to exceed $100.
Businesses in violation are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be punished by a fine not to exceed $1000 or up to 90 days in jail. The Attorney General, as well as city and county attorneys, may also seek civil penalties from businesses who are in violation.
For information and resources on the mask mandate, including frequently asked questions, visit mn.gov/COVID19.