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Burgum issues business and mask mandates

Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 10:01 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The era of “Individualistic Responsibility” has ended.

Governor Doug Burgum., R-N.D., announced new requirements for the state in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The measure requires face covering to be worn in indoor business and indoor public settings as well as outdoor public settings where physical distancing isn’t possible starting Nov. 14. Starting Nov. 16, all bars, restaurants and food services are limited to 50 percent capacity and all event venues are limited to 25 percent occupancy. The measures are in effect through Dec. 13.

Unlike the mask and business plans spreading through North Dakota cities and counties, these requirements do carry a penalty.

Those who do not comply are subject to an infraction; the same penalty as the original orders that closed many businesses at the beginning of the State of Emergency last spring.

This is a different tone coming from the Governor’s Office.

Burgum, like many other Republican governors, regularly spoke in favor of wearing masks, but consistently argued against a statewide mask mandate. Arguing that they are difficult to enforce and could create the opposite of the targeted affect; saying many would become reluctant to wear a mask if they were forced to.

“Our doctors and nurses heroically working on the front lines need our help, and they need it now. Since the beginning, we’ve taken a data-driven approach to our pandemic response, focusing on saving lives and livelihoods. Right now, the data demands a higher level of mitigation efforts to reverse these dangerous trends, to slow the spread of this virus and to avoid the need for economic shutdowns,” Burgum said. “Our situation has changed, and we must change with it. Tonight, we’re announcing four measures designed to reduce the spread of infections in our communities to protect our most vulnerable and to ensure hospital capacity.”

Industries that are not specifically mentioned in the orders are asked to continue following the State’s Smart Restart guidelines.

“I fully support and endorse the orders signed today by Gov. Burgum and the State Health Officer,” said Dr. Joshua Wynne, North Dakota’s chief health strategist and dean of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. “We as citizens of North Dakota need to act now to limit further spread of the virus and thus prevent our hospital capacity from being threatened. Let’s do these things now so that by Thanksgiving the pandemic situation in North Dakota will be headed in the right direction.”

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