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Mayor Shaun Sipma signed a declaration for a citywide mask mandate, effective immediately, after the City Council directed the mayor’s action Monday night by a 5-2 vote. The mandate requires anyone within the City of Minot city limits to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in all indoor or outdoor environments where they are exposed to non-household members and where social distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained. “I didn’t want to be here in terms of talking mandates. I was hoping our numbers were going to take a turn for the better before we got to this conversation,” Sipma said during the Oct. 19 Council meeting. “We know wearing a mask isn’t a cure-all, but we also know that it can be part of an overall effort, along with social distancing and personal hygiene, that can make a difference.” The mayor and council members Lisa Olson, Stephen Podrygula, Mark Jantzer, and Carrie Evans supported the mandate. Council members Paul Pitner and Tom Ross voted against it.With the decision on Monday, Minot became the second city in North Dakota to issue a mask mandate. Minot’s mandate mirrors a mandate put in place earlier Monday by Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney.These measures are being mandated with the strongest possible recommendation, however, there is no penalty for non-compliance with the mandate. The declaration does allow for some exemptions, including:Persons younger than school age, although parents and guardians are encouraged to have such younger children wear face coverings when and where appropriate;Persons with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering; Persons performing job duties where a six (6) feet distance is not achievable, but a mask is inhibitory to the ability to safely and effectively perform the job duty;Persons participating in athletic activities where a six (6) feet distance is not achievable, but a mask is inhibitory to the activity;Persons actively consuming food or drink;Persons driving a motor vehicle alone or with passengers from the driver’s household; Persons receiving services that require access to the face for security, surveillance, or other purposes may temporarily remove a face covering while receiving those services;Persons engaged in religious worship activities; however, face coverings are strongly encouraged; Persons giving a speech or performance for broadcast or to an audience; however, those persons shall safely distance from nearby individuals. The mandate will remain in effect until the current state of emergency ends. The Mayor or City Council can modify or terminate the mandate sooner by a motion of resolution approved by the City Council.