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State Health Officer Dirk Wilke signs order mandating masks

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A new order signed by interim State Health Officer Dirk Wilke on Friday night now requires face masks to be worn in indoor businesses, indoor public settings and outdoor public settings where physical distancing isn’t possible.

Gov. Doug Burgum said those who violate the mask mandate may be cited for an infraction, though did not specify what an infraction entails.

The order goes into effect Saturday, Nov. 14, and lasts through Dec. 13.

It includes exceptions for children under age 5, individuals with a medical or mental health condition or disability that makes it unreasonable to wear a mask and religious services.

Wilke cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that said this week that “adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns,” and that masks protect not only the people around the individual wearing the mask but also the mask wearer.

Gov. Burgum also signed an executive order on Friday to implement the other mitigation measures, which take effect Monday, Nov. 16.

Beginning Monday, all bars, restaurants and foodservice establishments are limited to 50 percent of their licensed seated capacity, not to exceed 150 patrons, and are closed to in-person service between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Take-out, curbside and delivery will still be allowed during those hours.

All banquet, ballroom and event venues are limited to 25 percent of their maximum occupancy, not to exceed new capacity limits that have been established with input from venues and local public health officials based on the size of the venue. Physical distancing and masks will be required for the safety of all venue personnel and patrons.

The order says playoff championship contests and performance events sponsored by the North Dakota High School Activities Association during the month of November may continue under NDHSAA requirements.

All high school winter sports and other extracurricular K-12 school activities are suspended until Dec. 14. This also applies to all association, community and club sports for youth and adults. 

College and intercollegiate activities must follow guidance from the North Dakota University System and their respective national organizations.

Burgum said the four-week pause in activities will “help keep schools open to in-person instruction – the optimal learning environment for most students – and ensure that students continue to follow the mitigation strategies of wearing a mask and physical distancing.”

The order also said not only those violate the mask mandate may be cited for an infraction, but also those that violate capacity requirements.

To read the State Health Officer’s full order, CLICK HERE.

To read Gov. Burgum’s full executive order, CLICK HERE.

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