Appeals court says Minnesota governor had authority to impose mask mandate

ST. PAUL (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals says Gov. Tim Walz had the legal authority to mandate face masks when he declared a public health emergency in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walz declared a peacetime emergency and mandated masking in most indoor public spaces in 2020. The conservative Upper Midwest Law Center sued, calling the requirement unconstitutional.

Walz lifted the mask mandate in 2021, at which point the Court of Appeals declared the case moot. But the Minnesota Supreme Court sent the case back to the appeals court to settle the key legal question of whether the governor exceeded his authority. The appeals court says he did not.