Tamburino Talks Law: Ongoing Mask Discussion and How the Minneapolis Requirement Works

The ongoing mask discussion is leading to questions around the Minneapolis requirement. I discuss how the requirement works just click here to see my latest Tamburino Talks Law:

On May 21st the Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis issued an executive order mandating that anyone who enters a place of public accommodation must wear a mask. The order took effect at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26th, and no end date is stated. There are three issues involved in this order that should be explained.

First, the order is legal. Pursuant to state law, the mayor of Minneapolis, as well as a mayor in any other Minnesota city, has emergency powers that allow him/her to issue emergency orders during a peacetime state of emergency as long as the orders are ratified by the city council. Here in Minnesota, we have been living under Gov. Walz’s peacetime emergency order since March 13th. Mayor Frey issued the mask order as part of the peacetime emergency and the order was ratified by the Minneapolis City Council. Therefore, the order is legal.

Second, a place of public accommodation is basically any place that is open to the public. Examples of such places are: gas stations, stores, office buildings, skyways, restaurants, bars, breweries, malls, theaters, salons, tobacco shops, churches, synagogues mosques, and the common areas of hotels. It does not include individual hotel rooms, private offices, or any outdoor spaces.

Lastly, the timing of this order is perplexing because the mayor could have issued this order right after Gov. Walz issued a peacetime emergency declaration in March, and the mayor never gave a reason for why he waited so long. Perhaps he was hoping that Covid-19 would dissipate quickly and hospitalization rates would significantly decrease? We don’t know. But, the order now exists and it is a misdemeanor (punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000.00 in fines) for any violation.

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