The Lidgerwood City Council voted 2-3 to decline a resolution that would have extended the city’s emergency order mask mandate during a special meeting on Thursday, Nov. 12.
The resolution would have extended the city’s emergency order from its current seven day period to 120 days. It now expires Nov. 19. Had the resolution passed, it would have allowed the council to change the length of the resolution at any time.
Lidgerwood Mayor Dale Krause said the special meeting was convened after several business owners in the community had approached him with concerns regarding customers’ refusals to wear masks.
However, the council’s decision was made moot by an executive order signed by interim State Health Officer Dirk Wilke on Friday, Nov. 13. The order requires masks to be worn inside businesses and public spaces in North Dakota. The order is scheduled to end Dec. 13.
A second executive order signed by Gov. Doug Burgum also caps restaurants’ capacity at 50 percent, not to exceed 150 people. The second order began on Monday, Nov. 16.
The executive order was signed during the country’s third wave of COVID-19, a wave which has swept across the midwest, in particular, North Dakota. For the past week North Dakota has had the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita, according to the CDC.
The order was signed to reduce strain on hospital capacity and ensure the economy stays open, according to a press release from the North Dakota Joint Information Center.
The order goes further than the city’s defeated resolution by citing violators with an infraction. Penalties are reserved for the most egregious violators, the press release said.
The failed resolution had no penalties for those who chose not to abide by the mask mandate.
Council members said they were uncertain how law enforcement would remove violators that business owners wanted removed from their property because response times can take up to 30 minutes.
Council members and members of the community expressed that the decision to require a mask should be left up to individual businesses and not mandated by the city. Now, it’s being mandated by the highest office in North Dakota.
Council members Stephanie Hejtmanek, Dylan Anderson and Bill Illies voted against the resolution.
Council members DuWayne Irwin and Garrett Irwin voted for the resolution.
“... COVID, it’s been rampant, my family has been affected, it sure shuts your life down,” DuWayne Irwin said.