Cook County asks Walz for mask mandate

Cook County asks Walz for mask mandate Photo: WDIO-TV

Updated: July 16, 2020 04:50 PM

The Cook County Board of Commissioners has sent a letter to Gov. Tim Walz asking him to impose a statewide mask mandate, saying the county doesn't have the legal authority to do it on its own.


The board voted 4-1 at its Tuesday meeting to make the request. The board backs a mask mandate for most indoor public spaces as well as outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.

"Commissioners and elected officials often need to make decisions based on what's best for the public, in this case public health," Interim County Administrator Rena Rogers said in a news release.

"We received nearly 50 letters related to the face mask issue, with about 90% favoring a mask mandate. Since there is not a state statute that allows the county to enact a mask ordinance, the board chose to make this request to the governor," Rogers said.

Numerous cities, including Duluth, have imposed their own mask ordinances. The board says a statewide requirement would provide uniformity.

According to KSTP-TV political reporter Tom Hauser, Walz said Thursday that he has not yet made a decision on a mask mandate. The DFL governor said he would be willing to eliminate capacity limits on many retail businesses if House Republicans offer legislation for a mask mandate.

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