Grand Forks to consider mask mandate enforceable by law

Grand Forks
Grand Forks(KVLY)
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 5:23 PM CST
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

A warning Tuesday night from Grand Forks health officials. As COVID-19 cases skyrocket, they’re taking action. A mask mandate enforceable by law is expected soon in the county.

“You should just have a good conscience about it,” Noah Daniel says. “It’s all in your own will. Nothing should be forced upon you like that.”

Though some in the city like Daniel aren’t fans, state law says county health officers can issue any order to stop the spread of an infectious disease.

This means anyone who violates the mandate could face a Class B misdemeanor. That carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail or a $1,500 dollar fine. The city attorney says her office would not seek the max.

“Like with anything else, there is going to be discretion involved,” Lt. Derik Zimmel with the Grand Forks Police says.

When it comes to enforcement, Grand Forks Police say they’ll back health and city leaders.

“We would much rather impress upon someone the need to wear a mask,” Zimmel says. “Also the options available to them, have them choose one of those options rather than get to a point of enforcement.”

Recently, Mayor Brandon Bochenski ordered bars and restaurants to close early. Health officials say the county could reach 32,000 positive cases by the new year if action is not taken.

The mandate proposal is still being drafted. It will soon be sent to the county and city attorney for review.

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