Essentia, St. Lukes Speak Out in Favor of Duluth’s Proposed Mask Ordinance

DULUTH, Minn. – Both Essentia Health and St. Luke’s are speaking out in favor of Duluth’s proposed ordinance that would require masks to be worn in many public indoor spaces.

St. Luke’s sent a letter to the Duluth City Council. It reads in part:

“Many people are weary of COVID-19 and all the changes that have come with it. It’s been a long four months and it’s hard to see any end in sight. We know that this will have to go on for months and maybe years, but the virus doesn’t care. The virus doesn’t care that you’ve missed birthday parties, hugging a friend, and carefree shopping. The virus’ mission is to reproduce in susceptible individuals. Advances in treatment and vaccines will take time. As we wait, we know that masking is one of the most important precautions we can take.

A significant percentage of people are asymptomatic, so the virus is being spread unknowingly. So let’s not take chances. Masks are an important way to protect each other, and reduce the risk of going backwards and shutting down our favorite restaurants, shops and bars, or elective surgeries and regular doctor appointments.”

Essentia Health also supports the ordinance and sent us this statement on the subject:

“Studies clearly show that wearing a mask helps to protect our friends, neighbors and loved ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends ‘all people 2 years of age and older wear a cloth face covering in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household.’ Wearing a face mask and social distancing in public also sends a strong message of caring for the well-being of others and the health of our communities.”

The Duluth City Council is expected to vote on the emergency ordinance during its July 13th meeting. If it is approved, the new rule would go into effect immediately and would last until statewide COVID-19 guidelines have been revoked.

If the proposal passes in its current form, violators found not abiding by the rule could receive warning letters or escalating fines. We’re told misdemeanor prosecution could also be on the table.

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