No enforceable COVID-19 mitigation left as mask mandate expires

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 10:48 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., announced he will let North Dakota’s mask mandate expire.

Gov. Burgum has slowly been relaxing his executive orders as the state’s active COVID-19 cases and average positivity rate decline. He first dropped the 10 p.m. dine-in curfew requirement at the end of December and since then has moved the state from high risk to moderate risk, increasing capacity limits for bars, restaurants and events.

Now he’s loosening his grip even more on COVID-19 restrictions.

The statewide mask mandate is no more and is set to expire on Monday, Jan. 18 at 8 a.m. But the governor said he still wants people to keep their masks on and remain cautious.

“The nation is more in the throes of the pandemic today than it ever has been, and we’re in the very unique situation to be relaxing some protocols when everyone else is going the other way,” said Gov. Burgum.

The current capacity limits will also expire on Monday, and become guidelines instead of requirements.

But this could allow COVID-19 mitigation restrictions to fall back on local leaders.

“Local mask mandates had a higher rate of response than state ones did and so we have every opportunity to continue to do a great job with mitigation protocols without it,” said Gov. Burgum.

In early November before the governor enacted any statewide orders, city and county leaders said they struggled due to there being no uniformity in mandates across the state and enforcement being nonexistent.

Although the state’s COVID-19 cases are decreasing, moving back into solely relying on ‘individual responsibility’ to keep the virus at bay may prove difficult once again.

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