Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a new executive order on July 22 mandating the wearing of masks starting July 25 in all public indoor spaces and businesses in the state. The order includes churches, non-public schools and parish offices/public spaces.
The order requires people coming to Mass to wear a mask when they enter a church, during Mass, and when exiting the building. It grants some exemptions from the mandate, including for young children and people with special medical conditions.
In a letter emailed to pastors July 23, Bishop Donald Kettler asked parishes “to have face masks on hand for those who arrive at church without them.”
He added: “No one (except those exempted) should enter a church or other parish-related public space without wearing one.”
The new requirement has been added to the diocese’s liturgical protocols, he said stressing the importance of following all the requirements.
“While I believe we have generally been doing a good job as a diocese in following the protocols up to this point, I am still receiving reports of guidelines not always being followed,” he said.
“I support the requirement to wear face coverings because they are an effective means of protecting the health and safety of parishioners and community neighbors as the statewide process of reopening continues and more people return to Mass and parish activities,” Bishop Kettler wrote. “Along with hand-washing and physical distancing, it is among the simplest ways to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including by those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. I encourage you to explain the importance of wearing masks to your parishioners and to be good role models in your own use of them when interacting with the public.”
The letter to pastors and other information related to the coronavirus pandemic is available at www.stcdio.org/coronavirus-update.
Photo illustration: CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit