Minnesota governor issues statewide mask mandate

Minnesota governor issues statewide mask mandate
© Stefani Reynolds

Minnesota Gov. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzMinnesota GOP official who posted image linking mask wearing to Nazi Germany resigns Minnesota couple banned from Walmart after wearing Nazi flags as face coverings Minnesota governor signs ban on chokeholds as part of new police reform law MORE (D) issued a statewide mask order Wednesday that will require people to wear face coverings at all times when in indoor public settings and businesses. 

Walz said the requirement, which many states have already put in place, is the cheapest and most efficient way to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and allow businesses to reopen. 

“If we can get 90 to 95 percent compliance ... we can reduce infection rates dramatically which slows that spread and breaks that chain,” Walz said at a press conference Wednesday. “And this is the cheapest, the most effective way for us to open up our businesses. For us to get our kids back in school. For us to keep our grandparents healthy, and for us to gain back that life that we all miss so much.” 

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The statewide order goes into effect Saturday. Walz also thanked local leaders who have already issued face covering requirements. 

The same day Walz announced the statewide order, Minnesota’s health department reported 507 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 47,961 cases. 

The governor said that with the mask mandate in place, he thinks the state will be able to push forward and leave the worst days of the pandemic in the past. 

“Yesterday President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE said the worst is yet to come on COVID-19, pretty ominous but I think for many of us a statement that we made in March,” Walz said, referring to Trump’s comments during a Tuesday briefing

“I don’t think the president is probably wrong as far as the country goes, but I think here in Minnesota with this mask mandate and with the things that we have done previous to this, I think it is very possible for us to not have the darker days behind us but for us to start moving forward,” Walz added.