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Cloquet becomes next city to pass mask ordinance

Updated: July 21, 2020 10:39 PM

The City of Cloquet will impose a mask ordinance starting Aug. 1. Face coverings will be required in indoor spaces accessible to the public. 

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The ordinance passed 5-2 at the Cloquet City Council meeting Tuesday night. Councilors Kerry Kolodge and Steve Langley were opposed. 

Kolodge said he would have preferred a resolution strongly encouraging masks. He said he feels the mandate is unenforceable. 

Councilor Sheila Lamb shared some "food for thought" for people who were against their decision. 

"We are very blessed here in Carlton County right now that there has been no loss of life, but I, for one, do not want it on my conscience that I failed to do something to protect others," Lamb said. 

Exceptions to the ordinance include: 

  • Kids under 10
  • People who can't cover their face for medical reasons
  • People in private rooms of multi-tenant places
  • Customers actively eating or drinking
  • Business owners and employees in areas that are not accessible to the public
  • Education and child care facilities
  • Fitness centers
  • Police officers, firefighters and other first responders when they are working on a public safety matter

Mayor Roger Maki said masks are the best prevention tool we have at this time. 

"Obviously it is not unanimous in the public, however, I do think that is our best thing that we can do for health and wellbeing of our residents at this time," Maki said during Tuesday's meeting.

The first violation of the ordinance would result in a warning letter, the second a $50 fine and the third a $100 fine. Beyond that, City Administrator Tim Peterson said there could be criminal proceedings. 

However, at Tuesday's Council meeting, Peterson said that enforcement needs to be largely voluntary on the part of businesses and individuals. He says police should only be involved as a very last resort. 

Superior also adopted a mask ordinance Tuesday night that takes effect July 27. Duluth's mask mandate began July 13. 

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to announce a decision about a statewide mask requirement soon. 

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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