Council to Vote on New Emergency Mask Mandate Monday

DULUTH, Minn. — A second city wide Duluth mask mandate will be front and center for a vote at Monday night’s first city council meeting of 2022, with a hot topic to start the new year for sure.

If Thursday night’s tense agenda session says anything about the mask mandate topic, this proposed emergency declaration isn’t going to be a slam dunk at Monday’s council meeting.

After Minneapolis and Saint Paul issued a new indoor mask mandate last Thursday, the discussion has now been brought to the forefront in Duluth, with councilor Terese Tomanek the prime leader wanting it passed.

This also comes after Essentia Health and Saint Luke’s wrote in to the city with concerns regarding the rising omicron cases in Duluth, and how hospitalization rates are increasing with unvaccinated patients.

Incoming council president Arik Forsman, who was behind the first Duluth mask mandate, gave his thoughts to us today.

“I am in favor of a long term mask mandate, I don’t think thats the right move, I am open to the idea that we need something very short term based on what the hospitals have said to help get us through this next wave, but that would be the limit of where I say we should go,” Forsman said.

He also tells us, keeping the ordinance similar to what it was before, might be the best idea, to make it an easier transition.

But if this ordinance is passed, it would be in place much sooner than normal.

“The situation we find ourselves in is much more dynamic than when the council originally passed a mask ordinance, we didn’t know if we’d have vaccines, we didn’t know when we’d have them, really masking was our only option which made a lot of sense, this time, there’s so many layers of complexity,” he added.

To pass this emergency city wide mask mandate, a unanimous vote is required, which is unlikely.

Councilor Derek Medved said Thursday he was strongly opposed to a mandate and won’t vote yes.

Other councilors were concerned to hear from the business community, and county health officials before such a vote.

The virtual council meeting takes place Monday night at 7 pm, the public and business community are encouraged to speak up by emailing the council ( before Monday’s council meeting at 7 p.m., and also voice their opinions during the meeting’s opportunity for citizens to be heard.

For more information regarding Thursday evenings meeting, click here for the link to an additional article.

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