On Wednesday, July 22, Governor Walz announced a statewide mask mandate. Senator Andrew Mathews (R-Princeton) responded with the following statement:
“I have no problem with individual businesses requiring masks – it is their right to set guidelines and rules in their establishment. A statewide mask mandate, however, is not the role of government, and Gov. Walz is wrong to unilaterally mandate it over all Minnesotans, especially as we see consistent reduction in hospitalizations and deaths. Many places throughout outstate Minnesota, where populations are already spread out, have seen extremely low rates throughout the course of this pandemic. In many places where people can not readily distance (i.e. grocery stores in the Twin Cities), masks are already required.
“Further, we should have specifics. People need to know exactly what influences an end date decision, otherwise this will be another case of moving goalposts.
“Governor Walz continues to be the one man making decisions for the entire state, along with a team of agency leaders who were not elected. He has instituted a mandate that will result in a misdemeanor, fines, and potential jail time for businesses and managers who do not comply. If there is to be a statewide mask requirement, it should go through the legislature, where every Minnesotan is represented.”