Aggressively attacking COVID-19

I have had no less than 4 constituents killed by COVID-19. This is not a game, its a pandemic.

21 Minnesota Medical Associations call for action on face masks.

Shout out to colleagues CM Nick Campion & Mayor Kim Norton for helping turn up the heat on inaction.

In collaboration with Kim Norton – Mayor of Rochester, MN and Michael J. Wojcik, I have asked the City Attorney to draft language for a City mandate for face mask usage at City facilities to be considered at our next meeting. Additionally, we are reviewing what options we have at commercial businesses to require mask usage*.

We’ve watched the steady decline in use and followed the steady growth in cases. It is clear, the right decision for our community is for community members to use face masks. It is inequitable to continue to ignore the growing mountain of evidence that the simple act of wearing a face mask can dramatically reduce the transmission of this horrific disease, especially when we see the disproportionate impact this disease is having on our most vulnerable citizens across the nation.

We should not have to mandate doing the right thing, but we cannot sit idly by given what we’ve observed happening within our community. I hope that Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce and Mayo Clinic Health System will make unequivocal statements of support to this end.

*(I must acknowledge I have received feedback that this may not be as straightforward as Minneapolis and St. Paul to mandate on private property because of the nature of business licenses w/in Rochester, but we continue to explore all options)

Councilmember Nick Campion

I appreciate CM Campion putting this out there. There are a couple of additional issues that I plan on drawing attention to on Monday.

1) Rochester Ready is not good enough – This should require a masking policy for patrons inside a business. At an absolute minimum you should have to put a warning sign outside if you want to be certified but won’t require patrons to wear masks. If people see the Rochester Ready approval they should know if they are walking into a store where they are at greater risk due to a lack of masking. Short of some immediate improvements I will attempt to remove the support of the City of Rochester from the program on July 6th.

2) The city does not have a health department, we share one with Olmsted County, but they report to the Olmsted County Board. It is a great organization full of brilliant people who care about the community. That said they are not advising the city on appropriate policies that we should be putting in place. On Monday, I will ask for a set of policy recommendations to be place under reports and recommendations for the July 6th meeting. This will include all their recommendations as it pertains to masking policies.

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