(ST. PAUL, MN) – Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka released the following statement on a statewide mask mandate:
“Once again, I find myself asking why one-size-fits-all is the only option for a mask mandate. Businesses and individuals are already requiring and wearing masks in most situations, so the mandate feels like a heavy-handed, broad approach that won’t work well for every situation.
“40 counties have no COVID deaths, and another 35 counties have less than ten deaths. Meaning 86% of the state is either in a very safe environment or already taking appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of COVID. The public is wearing masks and many businesses are requiring them. Deaths and ICU use have stabilized to very low numbers without a statewide mask mandate.
“So, what measurement indicates that we need a mask mandate today, and not three months ago? What is the defined goal that requiring masks will help the state attain? Is it fewer deaths? A lower percentage of cases? Do we still need to flatten the curve? Is it a smaller number of ICU beds in use? Perhaps most importantly, what measurements will be used to lift the mandate? These are questions that need to be answered and explained to the people of Minnesota.
“Finally, if the Governor requires masks, I expect to see the dials and knobs moved forward so that people can work, kids can go to school, and businesses can operate more freely. Each business, school district, and church should be able to decide what works best for their specific needs. ‘One (size-fits-all) Minnesota’ is a terrible way to support more than 5 million individuals in our state.”