Two Republicans join DFL in ‘taking the pledge’ to wear masks

The pledge includes wearing a mask while in public, maintaining social distancing rules, staying home when feeling sick, and limiting the size of gatherings over the holidays.

Minnesota House/YouTube

During a House virtual press conference Monday, Reps. Pat Garofalo and Nolan West, both Republicans, joined several DFL representatives in pledging to wear a mask when in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Rep. Kelly Morrison, a Democrat, began the meeting by stating, “We’re entering a critical moment in the COVID-19 pandemic here in Minnesota. What we do and how we act over the coming weeks will determine whether or not many of our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers will survive. The situation is that dire.”

However, she went on, if we “buckle down and follow the pledge, we can keep the virus from infecting people.”

The pledge includes wearing a mask while in public, maintaining social distancing rules, staying home when feeling sick, and limiting the size of gatherings over the holidays.

Garofalo took the pledge and explained, “As we’re going forward with COVID-19, it’s really going to take the cooperation of all us to make a difference to defeat this.” He urged Minnesotans to partake in “smart activities.”

“We’re not here today to tell you what to do or how to live. We’re simply here to tell you about what the smart things are that we can do,” Garofalo said, stating that the measures on the pledge are “common sense” and will make it more difficult for the virus to spread.

He tweeted a photo of the pledge with the caption, “Join us.”

West also took the pledge, pointing to the high possibility of vaccine availability for health care workers by the end of the year, calling right now the “homestretch.”

“That is why mitigation right now is so important. You don’t slow down in the homestretch, you go all out until the finish line,” West said. He urged mask wearing, social distancing, limiting gatherings, and taking measures like eating healthy, taking vitamins, and getting exercise.

When asked by a reporter why only 40 legislators have signed the pledge, Garofalo said that it has not been distributed to everyone, but contains “common sense measures” that everyone should agree on.

“As individuals, we are choosing to go out and honor social distancing, to keep our hands clean, to wear masks in public,” Garofalo said in response to a question about Republican opposition to measures like mask wearing.

“We’re simply saying to be aware of these efforts,” he added.

“We hope that all Minnesotans will join us in signing and committing to the pledge,” Morrison said.