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Mask ‘mandate’ more a strong endorsement

Most studies have shown that wearing a face mask is one of the best ways we currently have available to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Minot City Council recognized this and expressed strong support for masks when they voted 5-2 to approve a mask mandate for the city.

Masks are mandated in all indoor and outdoor environments where people are exposed to non-household members and where social distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained.

In practice, the “mandate” is more of a strong endorsement or suggestion since there will be no penalty if people do not wear masks and the mandate will not be enforced. There has also not been a state-wide mask mandate, though the city of Fargo also passed a mask mandate.

Many schools, universities, businesses, and offices in the area had already required people to wear masks as a condition of entering a school building or office or shopping. This is their right; it is also the right of people to decide not to shop at a business that requires masks or to go to a school or office.

North Dakotans have always highly valued their freedom and their right to make their own decisions. The City Council has just joined the chorus of health care providers and state officials and others encouraging them to decide to wear masks.

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