City Commission encourages usage of face masks in Fargo through directive

The directive "strongly encourages" people in Fargo to wear face masks in public when social distancing isn't possible

FARGO, N.D. — In a 4-1 vote, Fargo City Commission approves a directive encouraging people to wear face masks in public.

Commissioner John Strand says he doesn’t want mask police; he says what he wants is “a community approach to a health crisis.”

“We don’t have to be fighting after something so little as — I’m not going to say little, but something as inconsequential as wearing a mask,” he adds.

The directive “strongly encourages” people in Fargo to wear face masks in public when social distancing isn’t possible.

Commissioner Arlette Preston says living with the coronavirus for the next year means getting used to wearing masks almost regularly.

The directive encourages private businesses to prohibit anyone without a mask from entering.

Although the Commission emphasized that it’s not looking to hand out fines or penalties, the directive states that Fargo Police could be issuing “trespass notices” to those who don’t comply.

Some in the metro say a mask mandate is a good idea.

Hogan Haas of Fargo says, “Definitely in favor of it because [when] we’ll reflect five years from now, I don’t think it’s really hindering my lifestyle if I throw on a mask.” 

“It’s for the collective good, and that’s part of being in the country that we are,” says NDSU student Taylor Hemmesch. “I mean, we have those rights but we also have the right to help our neighbor and to be good citizens, and I think that’s just an easy way to kind of accomplish that.”

Others don’t believe city leaders should be making that call.

“I understand it’s simple,” says Kevin Formo, who lives in Moorhead but spends plenty of time in Fargo. “We can all wear one, but just being told by the government is, I think, an overreach.”

“I just think it’s a personal choice and each person should be able to make that decision on their own,” Ed Wilt of Fargo says.

The Commission did approve for masks to be required on MAT buses beginning next Monday, August 3rd.

City Commissioners say they will revisit the face mask directive every three months and adjust according to whether or not people follow the directive.

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Local News, North Dakota News