Minnesota Mask Requirement: Slowing the Spread of COVID-19 to Keep Our Economy Open
July 24, 2020
Over the last months, we’ve heard repeatedly from Minnesota businesses that we need to continue to control the spread of the coronavirus in order to sustain the economic rebound underway. Our state's businesses know that in order to keep making strides in bringing our economy back, we’ve got to take care of each other – and the easiest way to do that is to wear a mask.
In recent weeks, more and more Minnesota business have led the way on this requirement. From big chains like Target, Best Buy, and Cub Foods, to local shops and establishments across Minnesota, business owners know that masking helps keep our economy open – and could get us closer to opening it further. The data shows this, too – a Goldman Sachs study recently published showed that a masking mandate alone in our country could prevent up to a 5% loss in GDP that would come from additional lockdown measures.
Yesterday, Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan announced an executive order requiring masks in indoor businesses and other indoor public places to slow the spread of COVID-19, and allow us to continue our safe path toward further business reopening – with the goal of bringing more Minnesotans back to work soon. The order goes into effect July 25.
In making this decision, we consulted hundreds of businesses, labor groups, and community organizations to create our masking policy. We also reviewed policies from dozens of states and cities across the country, including many cities right here in Minnesota. Already, leaders in 30 other states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico have issued similar mandates.
Minnesota’s statewide masking mandate is based on a set of core principles:
• Individuals are responsible for wearing a mask
• Businesses need to be partners in that effort
• Smart, common-sense, exceptions need to be made to get this right
• Enforcement is a pathway to target flagrant offenders; the ultimate goal is compliance
We want to do everything we can to help businesses get started with this new mandate, and we know that no business wants to turn away a paying customer because they forgot their mask at home. That’s why we worked with the State Emergency and Operations Center and the Minnesota Department of Administration to help businesses get a start in this journey by providing over 4 million disposable masks as a one-time shipment to businesses. We’re partnering with local and ethnic chambers of commerce and councils across the state to disburse masks to Minnesotans later this week.
We want to open up more of the economy and to stay safe while doing so. If followed, this masking order helps lay the groundwork for that to be possible. We’re grateful to work with business on this effort and will continue to follow their lead on making sure we get this right across Minnesota.
If you would like more information about the new statewide mask requirement, or would like to review the FAQs, visit the Minnesota Department of Health website.
Together we’ll keep Minnesota safe, and keep our recovery moving.