Minnesota Cities to Enforce Mask-Wearing

"... a mask requirement the best choice right now."

Photo by Janko Ferlic
Photo by Janko Ferlic

Rochester, Mankato, and Winona will all be forcing people to wear masks in most indoor public areas by Friday.

In Winona and Mankato, people over 12 will have to wear masks while in indoor public spaces, with Mankato’s ordinance going into effect on Friday and Winona’s Mayoral order going into effect the same day. Starting Wednesday, everybody over the age of 2 in Rochester will have to wear a mask while indoors due to Mayor Kim Norton’s executive order. Many are unhappy with the Mayor’s order, but only 1 of 6 City Council members voted against it.

“I think it’s unnecessary and overreaching. I supported businesses being able to create their own policies in dealing with their customer base, and I don’t feel this is an area where the government needs to weigh in,” said Councilman Randy Staver, the lone dissenter in Rochester’s vote.

Councilman Staver is not the only one who opposes the mandate, as businesses have threatened to leave the city of Rochester to operate elsewhere. In response, Mayor Norton brought the idea of a state-wide mandate to Governor Walz on Twitter to ensure they have no place to move within the state.

 

Rochester and Winona will enforce the new ruling by maintaining that businesses have to ask people without masks to leave the premises, or they may have their licenses taken away. Individuals who do not vacate premises but do not will be removed by law enforcement for trespassing.

Mankato has taken a more direct measure, with individuals who do not wear masks being fined $100, and businesses being fined $200 if they do not ask them to leave.