Council in full support
The day before Gov. Tim Walz called for a statewide mandate to wear masks in public indoor spaces, the Eagan City Council voted one of its own during Tuesday’s meeting.
The action was essentially moot after Gov. Tim Walz enacted a statewide order Wednesday. The city’s mandate begins Friday and the state mandate begins Saturday.
Still, the Eagan City Council was in full support of the measure and expressed frustration that it didn’t happen sooner.
Mayor Mike Maguire submitted a letter to Gov. Walz on behalf of the city asking for a statewide mandate.
“We can’t let kids get back into school in the fall without getting this under control,” Maguire said. “I would rather not find out everything we did in the shutdown through March, April and May was for naught.”
Council Member Cyndee Fields said she really wants to get back to normal.
She loathes wearing a mask, but “I’m going to wear it everywhere I go.”
Eagan Police Chief Roger New said the department isn’t going to be the “mask police.”
“Our hope and goal is to work with businesses and community members to ask for compliance rather than ask for enforcement,” New said.
Maguire said the mandate is like a no shirt, no shoes, no service, no smoking policies.
Businesses can ask a customer for compliance. If they don’t get it, the business has the option of calling police for trespassing.
New said businesses violating the order may be subject to administrative action for any licenses.
As for businesses that advertise themselves as one that doesn’t enforce masks?
“If you ask me, it’s rouge operation that’s subject to a lot of consequences,” Maguire said.
The city received several letters asking the city to mandate masks in all indoor spaces.
“We don’t want to go the way of Texas, Arizona and Florida,” one wrote.
Several letter writers were from employees at local retail businesses stating they’re concerned for their safety. Others said they didn’t feel safe while shopping.
While the majority of the letters supported the mandate, some stated “masks have no place in a free society,” while others called it “tyranny.”
The letters claimed the mandate would violate basic human, constitutional and religious rights.
They claimed masks reduce blood and issue oxygenation, hinder detoxification and impair the immune system.
For those with religious beliefs, a mask mandate said it violates their convictions to walk in faith, not in fear.
Several writers sent the exact same letter template, word-for-word, asking the city not to mandate masks. Many came from the same email handle One Click Politics, an online communication tool to contact elected officials.
Maguire noted that one of the case studies they shared actually supported wearing mask.