Senator Marty offers legislation requiring face masks to save lives & prevent COVID-19 spread

St. Paul, MN – Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville) is introducing legislation that requires face masks in public spaces. By requiring face masks, we prioritize the health and safety of Minnesotans and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The time for requiring Minnesotans to wear masks in public spaces is here. As we have learned more about the coronavirus, it has become evident that wearing face coverings is an effective way to reduce the spread of the disease and protect our families and communities,” said Senator Marty. “During World War II, Americans were forced to ration gasoline and many other materials and products. Those were enormous sacrifices for the public good. Here we are asking for a much smaller sacrifice, but one that will save many lives.”

A recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projected that if 95% of Americans would wear face masks when in public places, the death toll from the coronavirus would be reduced by 45,000 lives between now and November 1st.

In addition to saving lives, wearing masks is the most effective means of enabling businesses to reopen and remain open. As we are learning from Texas, Florida, and other states, reopening businesses after the shutdown is not sustainable without masks and other safety precautions.

“Perhaps the most pro-business thing that Minnesotans can do right now is to wear face masks to help stop the spread in our communities,” said Senator Marty.

“Unfortunately, some have politicized this issue. Let’s be clear: Refusing to wear a mask is not a sign of toughness, it’s a sign of rudeness. After all, public health officials say that the main benefit of wearing a mask is to protect those around us, not ourselves.”

This proposed mask requirement does not require heavy enforcement. We know that a legal requirement for masks won’t be universally followed, but that most people follow the law, even if they are reluctant to wear masks.

“Governor Walz continues to take thoughtful measures to fight the pandemic and help businesses reopen safely, and I hope that he will implement a mask requirement. However, mask legislation is being offered because some of my Senate colleagues have been unfairly critical of the Governor, saying that such decisions ought to be made by the legislature. If they are truly interested in making decisions, I hope they will hold hearings where we can have testimony from public health experts, epidemiologists, and others on the impact of masks and how that can help Minnesota to safely reopen the economy.”

Senator John Marty
John Marty represents Roseville, Lauderdale, Falcon Heights and northern St. Paul.

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