Skip to main content

Midwest governors urge people to mask up, take precautions ahead of the holidays

The message comes ahead of the holidays when health officials are asking people to only celebrate with their household.
mask up

Gov. Tim Walz and some other Midwest governors are encouraging people to take extra precautions heading into the holiday season amid skyrocketing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

Walz joined Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to address Midwesterners, encouraging them to mask up to protect frontline healthcare workers, loved ones and others from COVID-19. 

“For eight months, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated American families everywhere. To fight this virus, governors across the country have listened to medical experts, stepped up, and worked around the clock to protect our families, the brave men and women on the front lines, and our small business owners. And no matter the action we take, we understand that our fight against COVID-19 will be more effective when we work together,” the governors said in a statement. 

“That is why this group of bipartisan governors is joining forces today to urge families across our region, and Americans everywhere, to do their part to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19. When it comes to fighting this virus, we are all on the same team," they added. 

Here's the video the seven governors released: 

This message comes as COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed in much of the Midwest and hospitals are becoming overwhelmed, which has prompted health officials in Minnesota and elsewhere to advise people to only celebrate Thanksgiving with people they live with.

Notably, governors from Minnesota's neighbors in South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa were absent from the Midwest governors' mask-up message on Tuesday.

This isn't that surprising seeing as two of the three states only recently issued mask mandates and they weren't part of the Midwestern states' pact on reopening the economy back in April.

South Dakota is among just a few states that don't have a mask mandate. Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, has been outspoken about her opposition to mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions, even as the state is now dealing with the country's highest positivity rate

In North Dakota, which reportedly has the world's highest COVID-19 mortality rate, Gov. Doug Burgum issued mitigation measures on Friday, including a mask mandate that went into effect Monday and remains in effect until Dec. 13. 

And in Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds, who once said COVID-19 restrictions are "feel-good" measures, reversed course this week amid surging cases and hospitalizations and issued a mask mandate, which is in effect from Nov. 17-Dec. 10. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a scientific brief last week that recommends community-wide use of masks, noting wearing a cloth face-covering protects the wearer, not just other people, from the novel coronavirus.

Next Up

south st paul mayor twitter 2

'Just took this': MN mayor tweeting others' pics says it's for 'entertainment'

The mayor told Bring Me The News his goal on Twitter is to spread joy.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 19

More than 44,000 new cases reported from the holiday weekend.

rise bagel co

Bagel shop closes amid vax-or-test mandate, posts: 'All are welcome here'

Other Twin Cities restaurants have also temporarily closed this week.

Rick Spielman

Spielman: 'It was constantly like a moving target all the time'

Spielman said drafting and rostering players who fit the scheme was difficult with all of the offensive coordinators Mike Zimmer had.

police lights

Suspect fled police, found hiding in old camper in scrap yard

Police say they were trying to pull him over for driving without any lights.


Omicron fading in Minnesota? Wastewater detection provides hope

Wastewater samples can help predict a rise or fall in COVID-19 cases.

covid vaccine card

COVID: Minneapolis, St. Paul vaccine-or-test rule for dining now in effect

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test are required.

freight train railroad tracks

Man crawls to safety before train hits his stuck wheelchair

The incident happened Tuesday on Highway 169.

US Bank Stadium

Sizing up Vikings coaching candidates we know about so far

A closer look at some of the head coaching candidates interviewed by the Vikings

St. Paul police

St. Paul: Man called police to report he killed his wife

Police are also investigating a separate fatal shooting in the Frogtown neighborhood.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves survive Knicks' second-half barrage to get back to .500

Karl-Anthony Towns' lay-in helped Minnesota get a win in The Garden.


coronavirus, nurse

MN hospitals urge Gov. Tim Walz to mandate masks statewide

The MN Hospitals Association says there is a narrow window to slow the spread.

thanksgiving turkey

As COVID-19 surges, CDC urges people to stay home for Thanksgiving

The federal agency recommends people avoid traveling and only celebrating the holiday at home with people they live with.

social gathering

COVID-19: How will Minnesota's ban on social gatherings be enforced?

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced social gatherings of all kinds with people outside your household are prohibited for the next four weeks.

Gov. Tim Walz

Walz urges Minnesotans to 'double down' on COVID-19 efforts as fall arrives

The state says community transmission remains at 'high and sustained levels.'

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

COVID-19: Minnesota planning rapid testing for young adults

Health officials are in the planning stages of launching a rapid testing option for 18 to 35 year olds.