Minnesota court upholds governor's COVID mask authority

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that Gov. Tim Walz's COVID-19 mask mandate was within his authority, the Star Tribune reported July 10. 

Mr. Walz declared a peacetime emergency in March 2020 and began requiring masks in most indoor spaces in July 2020. The mandate was lifted in May 2021. 

Shortly after the mandate was enforced, the Upper Midwest Law Center challenged it, claiming Mr. Walz had exceeded his powers and infringed on residents' rights. A county judge sided with the governor, but the plaintiffs appealed to the state Supreme Court. 

The case centered around the Minnesota Emergency Management Act of 1996, which permits the governor "emergency and disaster powers" to address "natural and other disasters of major size and destructiveness," according to the newspaper. The plaintiffs argued that COVID-19 most likely originated from a lab leak, and thus was not an act of nature; however, the court ruled it did not have to prove or disprove any human action. 

"We are pleased that the courts have once again affirmed that the governor's emergency actions during the pandemic were lawful," a spokesperson for Mr. Walz told the newspaper. 


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