ST. PAUL – State Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tim Walz announcing Wednesday he is issuing a statewide face mask mandate.
“This is another of the governor’s one-size-fits-all orders that leaves more questions than answers, especially since there are so many variables,” Mekeland said. “As a general contractor who is required to wear different types of masks depending on the environment in which I am working, I wonder why there is no standard level of filtration media being applied by the governor in his mandate. Is this actually about capturing particulate matter? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then there should be a filtration standard. Also, are employers liable for health complications masks may cause some wearers, or is the state bearing this responsibility?
“Furthermore, Minnesota’s largest cities with the greatest infection rates already have imposed mask mandates. Why is the governor treating the more sparsely populated areas of Greater Minnesota just the same as Minneapolis? Instead of allowing the Legislature to participate in the decision-making process, he’s once again imposing his unilateral powers on Minnesotans. If wearing a mask is so important to the governor, why did he say he wanted to get through the recent special session without a political debate over masks, yet offered it as a bargaining chip in negotiations? It is hard to take any of this at face value and it concerns me the governor will take similar action by handing down mandates on schools for the new school year without doing enough to allow local families and officials to decide what best suits their needs.”