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Ramsey stops enforcing coronavirus mask mandate

MINNEAPOLIS — City leaders in Ramsey have voted to stop enforcing Gov. Tim Walz’s coronavirus mask mandate with proponents arguing it infringes on an individual’s constitutional rights.

It was not immediately clear what liability the city might face as a result of the 4-3 City Council vote Tuesday night which was discouraged by city attorney Joe Langel.

“You can’t ignore (the executive order) because you disagree with it,” he said before the vote. “It still has the full force of the law.”

Mayor Mark Kuzma, who returned to work this week after recovering from COVID, voted against the measure.

“I’m disappointed in the council bringing this resolution,” he said before the vote.

The League of Minnesota Cities said Ramsey might be the first city to pass such a measure, the Star Tribune reported.

Minnesotans have been required since July 25 to wear masks in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, unless they’re alone. Individuals are also are required to wear a face covering when working outdoors in situations that don’t allow for physical distancing.

Some states have relaxed their own mandates. Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, North Dakota and Montana have ended or will soon end statewide mask requirements even with variants of COVID-19 still circulating.

Meanwhile, Walz planned to join Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm at a Golden Valley COVID-19 vaccine site Wednesday as she receives the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.