UPDATED 11:39 AM PT — Friday, July 24, 2020
On Wednesday, three more Midwestern governors moved to implement mandatory mask orders in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Minnesota, Ohio and Indiana joined the growing list of states taking drastic measures to rein in the coronavirus.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) said the mandate is the quickest and easiest way stop the spread as well as preserve personal protective equipment for those who need it.
“This is the quickest way to ending the COVID pandemic, it is the surest way to getting us to the therapeutics and the vaccines with the least amount of impact on Minnesotans,” he stated. “And it is the absolute economic key to making sure that businesses are open and stay open.”
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s (R) mandate specifically sets guidelines for schools and students, so they can resume class safely this fall.
The state will approach enforcement of the face covering requirement with an emphasis on education. A penalty can be levied under the authority of state law. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.
— Governor Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) July 22, 2020
Mandatory mask orders are already in effect for Illinois, Kansas and Michigan, but a major point of contention for critics is how varied the mandates are from state to state.
You can look to the the age requirement as an example. In Ohio anyone over the age of ten is required to use a mask, while in Minnesota only those under the age of two are exempt. Meanwhile in Indiana, those over the age of eight have been ordered to wear a mask.
The criteria for exemptions also varies. Ohio’s mandate exempts most law enforcement officials and clergymen as well as women who are officiating religious services. Minnesota residents are exempt from wearing masks in public spaces if they are alone.
Anti-mask advocates are pointing to the lack of cohesion across the state mandates to show that they can be unnecessarily burdensome and in some cases arbitrary. Ohio’s mandate took effect Thursday, Minnesota’s will begin on Saturday and Indiana’s will follow on Monday.