City councils in Edina, Rochester and Mankato are set to decide Monday whether to require people to wear face masks in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The Edina and Mankato city councils will each hold a special meeting on Monday to discuss citywide mask ordinances. Edina is considering a “possible citywide masking policy,” while Mankato will weigh in on creating an ordinance to require masks or launching a campaign to encourage people to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces.
Rochester’s council will vote on Mayor Kim Norton’s amendment to the existing emergency declaration, which would require people to wear a face covering while in city facilities.
In a statement, Norton said she hopes community members will start or continue to wear some sort of mask and that businesses require them.
“If COVID-19 cases increase, I fear the state will need to turn the dial back, which is in the opposite direction of what we need to re-energize our economy and enjoy time with family and friends,” Norton said.
COVID-19, a viral respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that surfaced late last year, has caused more than 1,400 deaths across Minnesota, according to the state Department of Health. More than 35,500 cases of the illness have been confirmed in the state.
At the end of May, the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul signed executive orders requiring face coverings inside businesses and city buildings.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people over the age of 2 wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household. The face masks provide a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people.
A majority of Americans report that they’ve followed the recommendation, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 4-10.
Individual states including Delaware, New York, Virginia and Illinois require citizens to wear masks in public, while other states have mask requirements for essential employees.
Minnesotans were warned last week to be on the lookout for fake and fraudulent cards that claim the Americans With Disabilities Act allows those bearing them to forgo face masks.
Many of the mask-exemption cards, fliers or postings include the U.S. Department of Justice seal, though the department did not issue them.