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UPDATE (7/6/20 5:10 PM): The mandatory mask order has been signed by Rochester Mayor Kim Norton and City Council voted to support it. The amendment to the existing Emergency Declaration requires individuals to wear a face-covering while in any indoor public space in Rochester, MN and will take effect on July 8. Click here to read the details of the mandatory mask order in Rochester.

Original Story:

Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - It appears Rochester is about to join the growing list of communities that require the wearing of face masks or other coverings to help curtail the spread of COVID-19.

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton says she intends to sign an emergency order today and bring it to the Rochester City Council for ratification during today's regular City Council meeting. At the report, the order was still in draft form, but Norton said it would make wearing a mask or other face-covering mandatory for employees and customers of businesses and other types of indoor public accommodations. She also indicated that masks may also be required in certain outdoor settings if social distancing is not feasible.

The draft of the resolution includes language that would allow for cancellation of the mandate through a City Council vote or the expiration of the governor’s peacetime emergency due to the pandemic. The order will also automatically sunset in September unless it is renewed by the City Council.

Mayor Norton discussed the emergency order during her regular appearance on Rochester Today with Andy Brownell and James Rabe on New-Talk 1340 KROC-AM and 96.9 FM (click the play button below to listen).

The mayor says the mandate is tied to the city's Rochester Ready initiative. The public-private effort was launched as a way to provide assurance to Mayo Clinic patients and other visitors that local businesses and the city are doing all they can to keep them as safe as possible while they are in Rochester receiving healthcare and helping revive the economy. Norton noted that she has fielded a number of calls and has received other communications from Mayo Clinic visitors who were surprised that Rochester was not requiring masks or other face coverings during the ongoing pandemic.

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