5 things you need to know about Minnesota’s mask mandate

    A popup store in Washington D.C. Shortages of masks and other protective equipment has plagued health care workers, including here in Minnesota. | Samuel Corum/Getty Images

    Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday issued an executive order mandating Minnesotans wear face coverings indoors in public places and certain outdoor venues. Here’s what you need to know about Walz’s latest move to help stem the spread of COVID-19. 

    1. When does it go into effect? 

    Saturday

    1. Where do I have to wear a mask? 
    • An indoor business or public indoor space, including when waiting outdoors to enter.
    • When riding on public transportation, in a taxi, in a ride-sharing vehicle, or in a vehicle that is being used for business purposes.
    • When working outdoors in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.
    1. What exceptions are there? 
    • Children under 5 are exempt from the requirement, and children under 2 are not to wear masks because of risk of suffocation.
    • People can remove their masks indoors when eating or working out at the gym but socially distanced. 
    • A full list of exemptions, requirements and recommendations can be found here or below. EO 20-81 Final
    1. What kind of masks or face coverings are necessary?

    Cloth, surgical and N95 masks are all acceptable. Health officials encourage the use of cloth face coverings over N-95 masks in the interest of preserving personal protective equipment for medical workers. Those with a vent are discouraged because they actually could facilitate the spread of respiratory droplets containing the virus. 

    “Masks that incorporate a valve designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings because they allow exhaled droplets to be released into the air,” according to Walz’s executive order.

    1. What happens if I don’t wear a mask when required by the executive order?

    Minnesotans and visitors risk a misdemeanor citation carrying a $100 fine, and business owners who don’t comply with the mandate requiring workers, customers and visitors to wear masks face fines of up to $1,000 or risk jail time of up to 90 days. 

    Ricardo Lopez
    Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.