Local Mayors React to Duluth’s mask mandate

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 11:53 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - When Mayor Emily Larson enacted a mask mandate with her emergency powers Thursday, the word spread quickly to her fellow Mayors.

Some were supportive, like Bayfield’s Mayor Gordon Ringberg.

“I applaud her leadership in this, going forward and doing what she has to do to protect the citizens of Duluth,” said Mayor Ringberg.

According to Mayor Ringberg, a mask mandate is not in the cards for Bayfield due to the state’s laws.

Bayfield is leaving masking decisions up to business owners.

“What we’re doing now in Bayfield is our shop owners can still require people who come into their businesses to wear a mask,” said Mayor Ringberg.

According to Hermantown’s Mayor, Wayne Boucher, a similar mayoral mandate as Larson’s is not possible for him.

“I believe that’s within her power as a strong mayor, in a strong mayoral system, but unfortunately I do not have that power,” said Mayor Boucher.

According to Boucher, he’d need a majority vote on his city council or a ruling from the state to enact a mask mandate, but in some communities, enforcing a legal mandate could prove difficult.

“We have a public in certain areas that don’t believe that laws apply to them, so they’re not going to obey whatever is set,” said Mayor Boucher.

And some Mayors are keeping masking out of city government entirely.

“The City of Cloquet does not recommend or mandate anything about mask-wearing within our city,” said Mayor Richard Maki of Cloquet.

We’ll have to wait and see if Duluth’s mask mandate slows the spread, but some of the places without one are already seeing the consequences.

“We’ve got one hospital that serves the area of Bayfield, Ashland, and Washington and they are full,” said Mayor Ringberg.

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