Senate DFL members throw masks in the air just two days after criticizing no-mask rule

A photo from the Senate Media shows eight maskless senators tossing their masks in the air.

Several DFL senators throw their masks in the air (Minnesota Senate Media Services).

DFL senators claimed on Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka’s decision to end all coronavirus restrictions on the Senate floor was “unnecessary, premature, and unwise.”

Just two days later, several Senate DFL members threw their masks in the air in what they called “Mary Tyler Moore style” after hearing about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new mask guidance.

A photo from Senate Media Services shows eight maskless Democratic senators tossing their masks in the air.

Thursday guidance from the CDC says fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask indoors. Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday night that the statewide mask mandate would be lifted Friday.

Last week, Gazelka made the decision to lift all COVID-19 restrictions for members of the Senate during floor sessions, for which he received widespread backlash.

The Senate DFL Caucus, led by Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, published an open letter to Senate staff saying they do not support the “changes to floor processes.”

“Every person deserves, and should expect, a safe and respectful work environment, and the updated protocols run contrary to staff safety,” the letter dated May 11 reads. “To [change the rules] is not leadership, but rather irresponsible.”

Kent, one of the senators who threw her mask off, published a statement and several tweets following Gazelka’s decision. She said Senate Republicans “put others at risk” and “believe the rules shouldn’t apply to them.”

“We shouldn’t be exempt from basic respect and concern for others,” Kent said.

The Senate DFL Caucus’s letter also assures readers that it will “continue to advocate for a safe and respectful work environment.”