MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Wednesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces.
The reaction from Minnesotans is mixed. Walking along Main Street in Anoka on Wednesday afternoon, it was pretty split on who was wearing a mask or face covering. Gayle Gustafson is for the mask mandate.
“I really think in the long run it’s probably going to save lives,” Gustafson said.
Small-business owner Marquelle Pagel is against the mandate.
“I personally don’t like to have to wear one. I don’t want to have to wear one,” Pagel said.
Main Street gets a lot of foot traffic because of all the businesses along that stretch. Many of them are already requiring masks inside their stores and restaurants.
Kay McDonald works at The White Owl on Main Street, which enforces masks inside. The White Owl will even deny service to people who walk in without a mask if there’s already other shoppers in the store.
“Nobody likes it, but they all respected the store policy,” McDonald said.
Jennifer Cook is a small business owner. She believes people living and working in small towns should not be required to wear a mask inside.
“I don’t like it, but I will do what I have to do to keep my small business running,” Cook said. “I live in Isanti, where it’s very spread out. I feel safe in my own little small town.”
Ben Lathrop agrees, saying masks should only be enforced in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
“I don’t think it’s necessary, especially for people who go up north a lot, like, there’s not a lot of population volume,” Lathrop said.
There are consequences if someone willfully violates the order. Individuals can be fined up to $100. Businesses could be fined up to $1,000.