MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Minnesota joined more than 30 other states to make masks mandatory across the state on Wednesday.
The mandate goes into effect this Saturday, July 25, and will require masks to be worn in indoor businesses and indoor public settings.
Gov. Tim Walz said the comments made by President Donald Trump of the nation having yet to see the worst of COVID-19 may not be indicative of Minnesota’s coronavirus trends.
“I think it is very possible for us to not have the darker days behind us, but for us to start moving forward,” said Walz. “If we can get a 90 to 95-percent compliance, which we’ve seen the science shows, we can reduce the infection rate dramatically which slows that spread and breaks that chain.”
Officials said the decision is rooted in health and in growing the economy during a difficult time.
“We’ve learned so much more in the last few months and we recognize that there were some mixed messages early on about whether masks worked or not or in what situations they might be valuable and who should wear them and who didn’t need to. But, we’ve learned so much more in just the last few months and the evidence has really gotten compelling,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm explained.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan shared the loss of her brother to the virus earlier this year.
“Every death that we prevent is another family and another community that does not have to experience this kind of grief,” Flanagan said.
The indoor mask mandate had previously existed in cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Minnetonka, Winona and Mankato.
The state follows the lead of Minnesota communities.
"In these towns, cities and counties across the state where folks maybe haven't yet experienced COVID-19, that's where this masking requirement becomes even more important so that the spread doesn't even begin in the first place," Flanagan said.
“We definitely need to protect all of our citizens, all the time, and this is no greater of a task than to wear a shirt and shoes when you go into businesses,” said James Brown, a Mankato resident.
All in efforts to lessen the nationwide increase in coronavirus cases.
“I’m so glad that the governor is doing this because now I’ll feel a lot safer when I’m asked to go into a store and get something from somebody,” Brown added.