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Mandated masks: Will police use time on this?

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz took the step this week of mandating mask-wearing. The rule goes into effect Saturday and requires that masks be worn in businesses, public buildings and other indoor spaces where people gather. Cities can adopt more stringent requirements.

Walz is attempting to slow the spread of the coronavirus and touts mask-wearing as a cheap and effective solution. We do not blame the governor for taking action, but we hope his mandate does not become something police spend a lot of time enforcing. Individuals face fines of up to $100. Businesses face fines of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. In this day and age of social unrest, police efforts would be better spent elsewhere.

We do hope people have respect for law and order and follow the rules. Wearing a mask protects others and is not a great burden. The mandate may help more vulnerable people remain well until a vaccine can be produced, if that happens. It will be worth reviewing the mandate if it does not.

We believe Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka also makes important points in criticizing the mandate. He says making people wear masks should be accompanied by reopening schools and allowing businesses to operate more freely. Gazelka also argues that each business, school and church should decide what works best for them. It certainly is the other side of the argument, and a valid approach.

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