MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A small north metro city took a bold stance against Gov. Tim Walz’s statewide mask mandate.

The Ramsey city council voted four-to-three Tuesday night to stop enforcing mask wearing in their city. But the decision is controversial, even with the Mayor of Ramsey disagreeing with it.

“I just want to say i’m disappointed in this council for bringing this resolution and with that I’ll call for the vote,” Mayor Mark Kuzma said before calling for the council’s vote Tuesday night. It’s a decision he takes personally, as both he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19.

The resolution gives businesses the option to no longer enforce masks.

“I think it’s good they ended it, I think people should still wear masks but I’m glad they’re not making it a mandate,” said Don Pierce, a Ramsey resident. He believes mask wearing should be a personal choice. “It’s up to them. Common sense says you should. If they don’t have the sense to wear it, that’s on them.”

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“I believe it’s political and that’s the bottom line and I don’t understand it at all why you can’t wear a mask to protect yourself and other people,” said Berniece Carda, who disagrees with the council’s decision.

Mayor Kuzma’s biggest worry is people will start investing their money in another city where they feel safer.

“I’ve gotten a number of emails already this morning with a number of residents telling me they’re not going to shop here if that’s going to be the case,” said Kuzma.

According the governor’s mask mandate, cities can only add protections to the mandate, they can’t take anything away from it. According to state statute passed last year, when an executive order is in place, no local ordinances can supercede it.

In a statement, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said “Every Minnesotan deserves to feel safe in their communities.” He went on to say that executive orders from the governor “take precedence over the measures passed by any lower unit of government.”

Marielle Mohs