Listeners: Why Didn’t Rochester’s Cancer Telethon Have To Mask?
The Rochester City Council consented to (Mayor Norton's) Declaration of Local Emergency during an emergency session Sunday, requiring masks to be worn in indoor public spaces through February 7th. Read More: Rochester City Council Upholds Mask Mandate | Scrll down for the declaration's text.
At the same time, starting Saturday, going thru Sunday, the 68th annual Eagles Cancer Telethon returned to the Mayo Civic Center. And since Sunday, we've received quite a few messages from listeners wondering about the Covid-19 masking rules at Rochester's Mayo Civic Center.
On TV many people were seen without masks, both on stage and off. KROC News Director Kim David reached out to Rochester leaders to find the answer.
Checking In With Rochester's Mayor Kim Norton
Kim David -
We have been receiving numerous inquiries about the mask mandate and why it doesn't apply to the Rochester Eagles Telethon being held at the Mayo Civic Center this weekend, especially because it is in a city building. Were they given an exemption?
Mayor Kim Norton,
"The city policy that was in place from before stays in place for public buildings-nothing changed per the EO regarding them.
As I understand it, MCC requires masking in their building BUT once a venue is rented, compliance is in the hands of the person leading, with MCC standing behind their request to mask.
As you can only imagine, that is a precarious place for them to be."
Checking In With Rochester City Councilmember Shaun Palmer
Same question to the Councilmember -
"My understanding is that in the Public area it’s up to the group that rents it. They would be in the public areas. 125 live did not require masking. Also, no mask is required if you are performing or more than 6’ from someone, or for health reasons you can’t. My understanding."
Palmer also sent an inquiry to City Administrator Alison Zelms about the Sunday city council vote on the mayor's emergency order. He shared his note and the response with us.
"I understand that we can vote yes or no. That is all.
1. If we vote no, Can we make changes and then have the Mayor do another Mandate if she agrees?
2. Under Exemptions - number 10 What does it mean? Licensed or controlled by the City of Rochester or other indoor settings described in 6A.
3. I would have no problem if C-1,2 was eliminated. Not clear how this will be handled."
Reply from City Administrator Alison Zelms
Exemption 10 and reference to 6a: This is simply trying to make it crystal clear that the performer or athlete isn’t required to mask if at city facility OR the other places referenced in 6a.
In part it was to assure Sports Commission that the same MN High School Sports rules could still apply – participants and those in the court of play (coach/ref) can unmask.
If this is your way of asking whether someone can run for pleasure/exercise at RAC and unmask…I would suggest they aren’t an athlete participating in competition or a performer. Nor are they stationary on a piece of equipment with 6 feet of social distance.
Section C1-2 Enforcement: I would suggest that like all enforcement it would be handled on a case by cases basis.
More detail: For the most part, the intent is that if people are out doing their business, going to a store, a bank, attending an event, or going to a restaurant, etc., they should bring their mask, and wear it when indoors. At the restaurant they can remove their mask when seated but should put it back on if they are moving about. Employees in these publically facing business should mask.
If we get reports of egregious violations by a business we would contact the business owner and make sure that they are aware of requirements and provide suggestions for how they can comply – perhaps even provide them masks that they could hand out if they have challenges, simply asking “did you need a mask?” and handing one out.
If they are licensed by the city there could be action.
If there is an egregious situation with a customer, just like when we aren’t requiring masks, if a customer is violent or creating significant issues, the business should determine if they require police assistance and call 911 if they are in imminent danger.
The text of the Mayor's Declaration...
The City Council voted 6-1 to uphold the declaration, the lone dissent was councilperson Mark Bransford.
As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
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