Masks will be required in indoor public places in Mankato starting Friday. This after the city council voted 5-2 to approve the ordinance.
Councilmember Karen Foreman voted in favor of the measure.
Council Member Mark Frost opposed the measure.
Councilmember Jenn Melby-Kelly says it is about people’s livelihoods.
Council Member Dennis Deiken supported voluntary masking because of the issues he sees with enforcement.
The council decided it would be an education first approach when it comes to enforcement, meaning a fine or misdemeanor would only come if there’s a persistent problem.
Council Member Jessica Hatanpa was the swing vote to put the council at the 5 votes required to pass the ordinance. She originally was against the ordinance before changing her vote after hearing from the public.
During the meeting, Deputy City Manager Alison Zelms said about 60 percent of those who responded to a city survey showed support for an ordinance.
City Manager Pat Hentges says should anything come from the state, the state rules would supersede the city’s.
The ordinance will go into effect for 60 days. It begins on Friday. An amendment changed the minimum age requirement from 2 to age 12 and older. There will be exceptions for health reasons and for places such as fitness centers.