Minnesota lawmaker drafts statewide mask requirement as Governor continues 'serious conversations' about it

Gov. Tim Walz delayed a decision to institute a statewide mask mandate Tuesday, but said “serious conversations” about the topic continue.

In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Walz also said he is disappointed many Republican lawmakers refuse to wear masks in the Capitol.

While Walz was speaking, Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville) said in a news release that he is introducing a bill during the special session that would require Minnesotans to wear face masks in public spaces.

“The time for requiring Minnesotans to wear masks in public spaces is here. As we have learned more about the coronavirus, it has become evident that wearing face coverings is an effective way to reduce the spread of the disease and protect our families and communities,” said Senator Marty.

MORE: Where you are required to wear a mask in Minnesota

Marty pointed to a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington which projected if 95 percent of Americans wear face masks in public places, the death toll from COVID-19 would be reduced by 45,000 lives between now and Nov. 1.

In addition to the health impacts, Marty said a mask mandate is the most effective way to help businesses reopen.

“Perhaps the most pro-business thing that Minnesotans can do right now is to wear face masks to help stop the spread in our communities,” said Senator Marty.