Winona Mayor signs mandatory face mask order taking effect July 10

Downtown in Winona, Minnesota
Downtown in Winona, Minnesota(WEAU)
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:05 PM CDT
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Starting Friday, it will be mandatory in Winona to wear a mask in any public place.

The mayor signed a citywide order this week in response to a recent spike in regional COVID-19 cases.

The order follows other Minnesota cities, including Rochester and Mankato.

Exemptions for the order include children younger than two, those dining, and anyone with a physical reason for not being able to wear a face covering.

The mayor says he has the authority to make the mask requirement through the Emergency Declaration the Winona City Council passed March 16.

The order is enforceable by city officials.

“If a person goes into a business and they’re not wearing a mask and they refuse to wear a mask when asked, the business owner can call the police,” said Mayor Mark Peterson. “The police can come and if they continue to refuse to leave or wear a mask, they could be cited for trespassing.”

The mayor says the trespassing citation does result in a $100 fine plus potential court fees.

The city, which has experienced severe COVID-19 cases, says the order is important to protect the community.

“Winona had a real wake up call right away when this started,” Peterson said. “[Covid-19] spread through one of our nursing homes and 15 people died and that was a real wake up call for those of us that are here to protect our citizens.”

While not everyone agrees, the city says social media tracking shows a 90 percent support rate for the mask requirement.

The order lasts for 30 days-- if there is a need to extend beyond that period, it will be up to the council to decide.

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