City of Winona enacts mask mandate, citizens react

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) —  As COVID-19 cases rise, the city of Winona enacted a mask mandate beginning today.

Mayor Scott Sherman says he made this decision with local public health experts. Winona County, where the city is located, is currently reporting an average of 23 COVID-19 cases a day.

“All of the trusted health providers that we have spoken with and our sources, they have advised us to move as quickly as possible on it,” Sherman said.

Winona is the first in the area and the second in Minnesota to enforce a mandate in the past two weeks. This mandate applies to all indoor spaces open to the public.

“We are now in a stage where we need to do something to try and stop the spread of the Delta Variant here within the county,” Sherman said.

Sherman says that so far, most of the reaction has been positive. Edie Davis, a citizen of Winona, agrees with Sherman’s decision.

“I think that the way this delta virus has kind of exploded, it’s time to do something to cut back on the spread,” Davis said.

However, Minnesota Representative Steve Drazkowski disagrees. He said that the people should have the right to choose whether or not to wear a mask.

“They know what to do with their individual lives. This is about personal responsibility. We don’t need government telling people how to live their lives.”

Rep. Drazkowski is also concerned that the mandate will have a negative impact on local businesses.

“We don’t want to be in this position,” Sherman said. “What we do want is we want to help the community the best we can.”

Currently, the mandate is a 72-hour emergency order. It has been in effect since 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

If the city council approves the order, Sherman is looking at a 30-day mandate at this point in time.

The council could vote as soon as August 27.

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