Police departments in Minneapolis and St. Paul are taking an educational approach when it comes to enforcing mask requirements.
During the first weekend of the statewide mandate, police spokesmen for St. Paul and Minneapolis said Sunday they didn’t issue any citations.
St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders said the department is working toward “voluntary compliance” by having conversations with people violating the mandate. He has not seen any notable problems.
In Minneapolis, spokesman John Elder said the department acknowledges the public health crisis.
“Our job and what officers are doing is they are making contact with people they’re getting complaints on or observing in violation and providing communication… People have gladly complied after officers have spoken to them,” he said.
Officers are using it as an opportunity to “get out of their cars and talk to people,” he said. Although officers can enforce the mandate via citation, “thankfully we have not needed to,” he said.
Both cities had already instituted mask policies and both departments have required officers to wear face masks for the past several months. St. Paul enacted a mask mandate June 1 requiring face masks inside stores and city-owned buildings. Minneapolis enacted the same mandate May 26.
Elder said “compliance is quite high,” but even he admits to forgetting his mask in his car and then having to go back to grab it before entering the store.
“We’re all human, we’re trying to remember,” he said.