Community, city council react to new mask mandate for Rochester city buildings

Samantha Boring
Created: June 30, 2020 07:18 PM

(ABC 6 News) - In Rochester, masks will be required in city buildings starting July 1.

"I think that it should be mandatory masks everywhere when you are out in public," said Terri Dugan, who lives in Rochester.


Masks have started some hot debates across the country and here at home, some say wearing one takes away their rights and others say why not wear one?

"I am protecting them in case I''m contagious. I think we all need to protect each other," Dugan said. 

The Rochester City Council voted Monday night to make masks mandatory inside city-run buildings. This means City Hall and the Rochester Public Library will require them.

The Government Center, however, is run by Olmsted County. Right now the county is only recommending masks. 

The Rochester Ready Initiative is one way the City and County are working together to keep residents safe. Allowing businesses like hotels and restaurants to take a pledge, saying they have safety measures in place for the health of their guests and staff. But at least one city leader was not on board with the plan. 

"I, as a city council member, was not part of the Rochester Ready Initiative. Some of our teammates in the City of Rochester were. When I was reviewing the details I became deeply concerned because it is such a poor policy. I think it conveys a false sense of security," city council member Michael Wojcik said. He wants improvements to be made to the program and vote on it at the next city council meeting. He is also hopeful the county or state makes masks mandatory in public spaces. 

"My hope is that we will quickly move to have a city-wide mask mandate that is not just city buildings. Because that is the best thing that we can probably do with regards to masking right now," Wojcik said. 

Once word broke about the mandate, there were mixed feelings shared on social media. "I fully support their right to do stupid things. But when their stupid things endanger other people that is where we as community leaders have to draw the line," Wojcik said. 

If you refuse to wear a mask in city buildings, you may be asked to leave the property. If you do not comply, you could be cited for trespassing.

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