Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse plans to issue a proclamation Monday requiring masks to be worn in city facilities and strongly urging residents to cover their faces in other indoor public settings.
The City Council has scheduled a public hearing on July 27 to consider an ordinance requiring masks in public spaces throughout the city in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Bloomington has reported nearly 800 laboratory-confirmed cases and 38 deaths from the virus, according to the city's COVID-19 dashboard.
Busse said he's hoping Gov. Tim Walz will issue a statewide order regarding masks before the City Council meets.
"A statewide order is much better than a patchwork of city requirements," Busse said in his Mayor's Minute video this week. Having various requirements across cities could limit the effectiveness of public health policies and create confusion, he said.
Walz has acknowledged that he's considering such an order, which has been urged by the Minnesota Medical Association, the state Department of Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association.
Several other states have mandated mask-wearing in public.
When properly worn, masks can capture the microscopic droplets of moisture in the wearer's breath that are a main source for the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended this spring that people wear cloth face coverings in places like grocery stores and pharmacies where it's difficult to stay at least 6 feet apart.
Many health officials say face masks should be worn while in public, because people can be contagious without having COVID-19 symptoms. The mask must be worn over the mouth and nose to be most effective.
Winona, Rochester, Mankato and Edina this week enacted mask requirements. In Edina, council members voted Wednesday to extend the mask requirement to Dec. 31 unless Walz issues a statewide mask mandate, the state's peacetime emergency declaration ends or the City Council rescinds the order.
The Duluth City Council is expected to vote next week on an emergency order requiring masks in indoor public spaces.
Busse said that Bloomington council members have heard from many residents expressing concern about people not wearing face coverings or practicing social distancing.
"Wearing a mask is one of the multiple steps we're asking the community to take to help us live with COVID-19, and we all need to do our part in keeping our community strong," he said.
Mara Klecker • 612-673-4440