The Anoka County Sheriff’s Department said this week it will not be enforcing Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s face covering executive order.
Intended to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus, Executive Order 20-81 makes it mandatory for Minnesotans to wear masks while in most public spaces.
Order 20-81 states that residents can be fined up to $100 for noncompliance. However, Business owners would face far steeper penalties, including a fine of up to $1000 or imprisonment up to 90 days.
The order states that “nothing in this Executive Order is intended to encourage or allow law enforcement to transgress individual constitutional rights.” And urged “all Minnesotans to voluntarily comply with this Executive Order.”
Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart took to Facebook earlier this week to clarify his department’s stance on order. Stuart said the sheriff’s department “will not be actively engaged in any type of enforcement actions” and it “will not make any arrests or issue citations for these offenses.”
The sheriff added that “if a business requires a mask” then “a customer must comply” and if an uncooperative customer refuses to leave or comply “there could be an arrest for ‘trespass'”.
Stuart ended the post by saying “while I encourage everyone to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and health of your families and others (Proper distancing and masks when unable to distance), I do not feel that enforcement actions are in anyone’s best interest.”
The department doubled down on the sentiment with a press release but told residents that “other police departments within the county should be contacted regarding their decisions on face covering requirement.”
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