Minnesota’s Mask Mandate: What you need to know
(St. Paul, MN) – Governor Tim Walz announced a statewide mask mandate Wednesday to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The governor signed an executive order requiring residents in Minnesota to wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces and indoor businesses. A face covering could be a disposable or cloth mask, scarf, bandanna, or religious face covering.
The order will take effect on Saturday, July 25 at midnight.
There are exemptions that allow for removing a face covering temporarily:
- At the gym or fitness center when the level of exertion during exercise makes a face mask difficult
- While participating in organized sports in an indoor business or indoor public space
- Swimming & showering
- Playing a musical instrument in an indoor performance, as long as social distancing is maintained
- Eating or drinking in an indoor space
- For identity purposes
- Communication with deaf or hard-of-hearing people
- Dental or medical services and procedures that cannot be performed with a face covering
- Testifying, speaking, or performing indoors
Where are masks required?
- Indoor business or public indoor spaces
- Workers in an outdoor setting that does not allow for social distancing
- Waiting outdoors to enter an indoor business
- Polling places
- Places of worship
- Riding on public transportation
- Any business that requires a mask, even when the order does not require it
State health officials strongly recommend masks in the following settings:
- Organized sports
- Inside the home, if someone in the household has been infected with COVID-19
- Walking around in restaurants and bars
- Social gatherings with friends & family
- In vehicles with people from multiple households
Will school children be required to wear masks?
Children age 5 and under are exempt from the new mandate. Children in Kindergarten through Grade 12 are required to wear face coverings.
Here’s what Mankato Area Public Schools said about the mandate in a press release Wednesday:
“Children ages five and older participating in indoor school programming, including ACES, are required to wear a face covering beginning this weekend. Exemptions include children younger than five, and those with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering.”
What are the penalties?
Business owners who do not comply with the order could receive fines up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail.
Individuals could see fines up to $100, but children younger than 14, or in high school or college are exempt.
Can a carry a gun while wearing a face covering?
Yes, if you are wearing a face covering, you may possess a handgun under a legal permit and carry in the same manner as you would otherwise.