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Masks mandatory in Rochester

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- It is now not a matter of choice whether or not to wear a mask indoors in Rochester.

Mayor Kim Norton has signed a third amendment to her existing Emergency Declaration, requiring people to wear a face covering while in any indoor public space in Rochester. Late Monday afternoon the Rochester City Council voted to support the order.

The mayor said, "with infection rates on the rise locally, it's important that we do everything we can, as a community, to keep residents and visitors safe from the COVID-19 virus. The added benefit of protecting our businesses from another shutdown and making their environment safer for more customers makes a mask requirement the best choice right now."

In the amendment, the mayor cites CDC guidelines urging people to wear masks, as well as Mayo Clinic supporting the wearing of masks to help control the spread of the virus. She also points out, as Rochester's status as 'the Med City,' with thousands of visitors here for medical treatment, the masks will help those with underlying medical conditions to feel safe when visiting.

The order says masks should be worn in all restaurants and bars, retail businesses, public transportation, gyms, fitness centers, sports facilities and entertainment venues.

The order does not apply to facilities operated by the county, state or federal governments, to individuals actively eating or drinking, those speaking to an audience or those speaking to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing and requires the mouth to be visible to communicate.

Violating the order is not a criminal offense, but anyone who fails to comply will be asked to leave the business or organization. If they refuse to leave, law enforcement may be called in to remove them. Businesses violating the order could face losing any city license they make have.

The full executive order can be found here.

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