The City of Hopkins will require masks to be worn indoors in public places in the community starting Saturday, Aug. 1.
The Hopkins City Council adopted a mask ordinance in a 4-1 vote at its meeting July 21.
“To me, the public health of our residents, and our businesses and staff is a top priority, especially during this public health crisis, which is a global health crisis,” said Mayor Jason Gadd, who pointed out correspondence from businesses and residents encouraging a mask requirement. “We couldn’t wait any longer we needed to do what has been recommended.”
Councilmember Alan Beck voted against the ordinance and called such requirement government overreach.
Beck said he would rather support a resolution as it would be “a completely different interaction than an ordinance,” in that the businesses can encourage customers as opposed to ordering them to wear a mask or be punished for not complying.
“Some businesses don’t want to do that,” Beck said, noting it creates another hurdle for already struggling businesses.
Councilmember Rick Brausen said he was sensitive to Beck’s concerns with government overreach, but supported a mask requirement.
“I believe this is the right move to give some teeth for businesses, but I hear what you’re saying, I respect what you’re saying. And I think you’re not alone. There’s a lot of people that feel that way,” Brausen said.
The emergency ordinance states that anyone 6 years or older must wear a face covering while indoors in public spaces within the city.
This includes businesses, restaurants, entertainment or recreation facilities, or an institution of any kind, as well as common spaces in multifamily residential and multitenant office buildings.
Several cities in Minnesota have already adopted regulations requiring face coverings in public, including Minnetonka, St. Louis Park, Excelsior, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Edina, Mankato, Rochester and Winona.
City Manager Mike Mornson said city leaders looked at the ordinance adopted last week in Minnetonka.
The ordinance states that the primary benefit of most face coverings is that it reduces the spread of infection by the wearer to others. Because many persons infected with the coronavirus may be asymptomatic or presymptomatic, without any reason to know that they have the disease, a face-covering requirement protects the health of others, including business employees who provide essential services to the public as well as business customers.
The ordinance outlines 10 exemptions including for those who are unable to wear a mask due to medical, disability or developmental reasons, those actively eating or drinking, and facilities operated by the county, state or federal government or a political subdivision of the state of Minnesota, as well as churches, and public and private schools. Polling locations are also exempt.
According to the ordinance, any individual who fails to comply with this ordinance must be asked to leave by an authorized representative of the business or organization. If the individual continues to refuse to leave, law enforcement may enforce trespassing laws or any other law the individual may violate.
Any business violating the ordinance shall be subject to administrative action for any licenses they possess with the city.
The emergency ordinance will expire 61 days after its effective date, upon the expiration of the local emergency to which it relates; or upon the issuance of an executive order by Gov. Tim Walz that mandates the wearing of face coverings for any geographic area that includes Hennepin County.
City officials are working on signs to provide to businesses to display for the public. The City Council also encourages businesses to provide low-cost masks for customers.
Follow the Sun Sailor on Facebook at facebook.com/mnsunsailor.