Retailers urge governors to make masks mandatory in stores and public spaces

Masks are not mandatory statewide in Minnesota.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Gov. Tim Walz is on the receiving end of a letter from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) that urges him and every governor in the U.S. to make wearing a face mask mandatory in stores and public spaces. 

Numerous cities in Minnesota have passed ordinances to mandate masks indoors to help prevent transmission of COVID-19, but Minnesota is not among the dozen-plus states to make it mandatory statewide. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long recommended masks be worn over a person's nose and mouth when anywhere where social distancing is difficult, namely at retail stores and pharmacies. But in Minnesota, the decision to require masks has been left to local and business leaders. 

"We urge every governor to require consumers who are not incumbered by a medical condition to wear masks when shopping or in public spaces," the letter said, then citing recent outbreaks linked to bars, restaurants and house parties as reasons for concern. 

"Retailers commend the governors who have chosen to lead on this issue by requiring citizens in their state to wear a mask, and we respectfully ask that those governors that haven't yet required masks in public to do so immediately," the letter said. 

The RILA also wants a unified response about the mask issue nationwide to help prevent store employees from potential conflicts with customers who shop without a mask, in addition to having to break up disputes between customers that ignite because a mandatory rule isn't in place. 

One such incident happened recently at a Costco in Florida, where a man who was confronted for not wearing a mask aggressively shouted and told the person holding a camera to "back off." Warning: Video contains NSFW language

"States across the country are seeing #COVID19 cases surge – the easiest thing we can all do to keep Minnesota safe and keep our economy open? Wear. A. Mask," Gov. Walz tweeted July 5.

He's since petitioned a poll on Twitter, asking Minnesotans why they wear a mask, with the vast majority of more than 13,000 responses saying they do it to not only keep businesses open but to protect their neighbors and because it's the "right thing to do."

In late June, the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) had more than 10,000 physicians sign a letter urging Walz to make mask-wearing mandatory in public indoor spaces. 

“Statewide use of masks now in all indoor settings and on public transportation can help Minnesota avoid the resurgence of cases that is happening in many other states and avoid a backwards turn of the dial," said Keith Stelter, a medical doctor who presides as president of the MMA. 

As of Tuesday, 23 states and Washington, D.C. have mandated masks in public spaces: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. 

Next Up

IMG_1266

Glensheen Mansion reveals new coffee bar - with fresh donuts

It's located in the historic Carriage House garage space

Bogdan Vechirko

Charges against trucker who barreled through protestors could be dropped

Bogdan Vechirko will have to avoid legal trouble for a year.

Dychaun Chew - South High School Facebook

Loved ones mourn 16-year-old killed in Minneapolis hit-and-run

South High School held a balloon release for Dychaun Chew Thursday evening.

police lights

5-year-old dies 3 weeks after assault, mother's charges upped to murder

The girl died three weeks after the assault took place.

hospital, emergency room

2 teens, Texas man suffer life-threatening injuries in MN crash

One of the drivers crossed the center line and hit the other vehicle.

WIkimedia Commons - Frey April 20, 2021

Frey under fire for $359K Agape contract awarded via COVID order

Some council members called it a "misuse" of his powers, but the mayor pushed back.

minneapolis mayor - Sheila Nezhad and Jacob Frey

Minneapolis DFL fails to endorse a candidate for mayor

Sheila Nezhad and Jacob Frey finished first and second, respectively, in the endorsement process.

Related

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Medical group urges MN leaders to make face masks mandatory

Thirteen states already have mandatory mask policies.

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.

Walz

Walz: Decision about mandatory masks coming in 'very near future'

Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force applauds governors who have mandated masks.

coronavirus, pandemic, masks

Map shows where Minnesotans are wearing masks, everywhere they're not

In most of Minnesota, people are not wearing face masks in public despite the fact it can help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

masks, coronavirus, covid-19

Osterholm: It's time for a mask mandate, but social distancing more important

The state epidemiologist backs Gov. Walz ordering a mask mandate.