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The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said this week it will not enforce Gov. Tim Walz’s mask mandate.

The Sheriff’s Office encouraged people to comply with the order and follow social distancing guidelines, but deputies will not cite or arrest anyone for not wearing a mask.

“In short- our team of professionals at ACSO has been instructed (by me) that we will not be actively engaged in any type of enforcement actions,” Sheriff James Stuart wrote in a July 26 statement on Facebook. “IF we receive a complaint directly, we may respond and encourage social distancing and related measures. However, we will not make any arrests or issue citations for these offenses. I have said from the beginning that this is a public health matter, not a criminal matter.”

The Sheriff’s Office pointed out, however, that business owners have the right to refuse service to those who are not wearing masks, and customers could be arrested for trespassing if they refuse to wear a mask or leave a business that requires masks.

Local police departments may also choose to enforce the mandate, the Sheriff’s Office noted.

Effective July 25, Gov. Tim Walz ordered that Minnesotans wear a face covering while inside indoor businesses or public settings and in some outdoor settings where social distancing is not possible. Learn more about the governor's order and find a link to read it at tinyurl.com/y3vsdnnn.

~Compiled by Connor Cummiskey

(1) comment

Phyllis Kieffer

Thank you, Sheriff Stuart.

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