By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group consisting of Minnesota parents, coaches and athletes have filed a new lawsuit this week over Gov. Tim Walz’s restrictions requiring student-athletes to wear masks during practices and games.

The group Let Them Play MN previously sued the governor and other state officials after he instituted a “pause” on youth sports as part of a dial back on COVID-19 restrictions following last year’s surge in virus cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

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The group’s lawsuit argued that the pause on youth sports was unconstitutional and unfairly sidelined youth athletes while those in college or at the professional level were allowed to play. A judge denied the lawsuit.

Let Them Play MN’s new lawsuit argues that requiring masks is dangerous for student athletes, the group says.

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“We have repeatedly asked Governor Walz and MDH to show us any data indicating wearing masks while playing youth sports, or any other of their constantly changing restrictions are necessary, or even safe. In response, the Walz Administration flatly assert they don’t owe us or even a federal judge any explanation for their actions,” Let Them Play MN’s attorney Sam Diehl said. “Whatever they think about us or even the courts, you would think Governor Walz would value Minnesota’s kids enough to simply explain why he has taken so much away? Our youth athletes—and all Minnesotans—deserve better.”

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On Monday, student-athletes were allowed to return to practice as the governor has relaxed state restrictions as COVID cases and hospitalizations have declined over recent weeks. Most student-athletes are required to wear masks at all times, although there are exceptions for gymnastics, cheerleading, wrestling, and swimming.

Games are slated to start next week, and spectators will be allowed in the stands, although there will be restrictions depending on the venue and whether or the sport is played indoors or outdoors.

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