Masks make sense

Minnesota’s new face mask mandate takes effect on Saturday, after Gov. Tim Walz signed a new emergency order on Wednesday. The mandate calls for people to wear face masks indoors in public places — stores, public buildings and other gathering places. While the order carries a petty misdemeanor penalty, Walz said the aim of the order is to encourage and educate the public, not punish non-mask wearers.

We hope the public will take to this mandate with a willing spirit and the desire to protect our fellow citizens. It may be a slight infringement on one’s personal liberties, but it is far outweighed by the responsibility to not spread sickness to others we might meet in public.

Republican leaders at the state capitol have been trying to strip Gov. Walz of his emergency powers since May. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has been vocal this week about his opposition to the mandate.

“Once again, I find myself asking why one-size-fits-all is the only option for a mask mandate,” he said in a statement. “Businesses and individuals are already requiring and wearing masks in most situations, so the mandate feels like a heavy-handed, broad approach that won’t work well for every situation.”

Maybe it won’t work in every situation, but it will help in most. We have to stop viewing the wearing or non-wearing of facemasks as a political statement and look at it as a humanitarian act that tries to keep as many of us as possible from contracting COVID-19.


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