3 things you should know about the Ramsey County mask usage resolution

Jack Williams
Devils Lake Journal
A sign requiring patrons to wear a mask inside hangs at the door of the Memorial Building in Devils Lake.

On Oct. 29, the Devils Lake City Commission's mask mandate went into effect, ordering citizens of Devils Lake to wear a face mask in public places to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the city. The mandate came in response to the climbing COVID-19 infection numbers within Ramsey County according to the North Dakota Department of Health.  

A little over a week later on Nov. 5, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners voted to enact a "Resolution in Support of Mask Usage to Mitigate Migration of COVID-19 in Ramsey County", which went into effect Nov. 9. Unlike the mandate by the Devils Lake City Commission, the resolution will also affect Brocket, Churches Ferry, Crary, Edmore, Hampden, Lawton, and Starkweather. Here are five things you should know about the resolution going into effect next week. 

All persons, except for those with exemptions, will be recommended to wear a face-covering 

The resolution goes forth and defines what falls under a face covering and what doesn't, so there isn't much room for argument. The resolution says that a cloth face mask, surgical mask, towel, scarf, or bandana can act as a face covering. An N95 mask or valve mask isn't considered face coverings. 

In using face coverings, all riders on public transportation are encouraged to wear face coverings. This does not apply to operators who may be sitting in isolated areas of the vehicle. Face coverings are encouraged to be used inside enclosed areas of public accommodation by patrons ages six and older. Staff members as places of public accommodation are encouraged to require to wear a face-covering as well. 

A place of public accommodation can be classified a the grocery store, post office, or restaurant where a specific place is offering a service to the public. Outdoor parks and trails fall under this classification as well. An individual home does not fall under the resolution meaning a face covering is worn under the owner's discretion. 

There are exemptions as to who doesn't need to wear a face-covering 

The resolution points out that there are individuals in the community who may not be able to wear a face-covering to medical conditions, age, activity, or current environment. 

Children under the age of two years old are exempt from wearing a face covering. Those who fall under the Center for Disease Control's guidance for who shouldn't wear a face covering, in relation to mental and physical health are exempt. 

If you're eating in a restaurant, driving in a personal vehicle, or a personal office, a face covering is exempt. If you're receiving a service, such as going to a dentist's appointment or receiving medical treatment, the face-covering exempt. If there is compliance needed from public safety employees, a face covering is exempt. If a face covering would get in the way of a public safety employee or first responder doing their job, they are exempt from wearing the face-covering. 

While parks and trials do fall under places of public accommodation where face coverings are being recommended, if you are maintaining a physical distance of six feet or more from other patrons, you are exempt from using the face covering. However, if there is a congregation outdoors with persons not in an individual's household, a face covering is recommended.

These are recommendations and not enforcements  

The resolution has made it clear that it will not be force patrons of Ramsey County to wear a face-covering but to strongly recommend the usages of one. Those who don't comply with the resolution will be made aware of the recommendation and allowed to comply. 

If an individual has a medical condition that does not allow them to wear a face covering, they do not need to show any documentation to prove their condition. The enforcement of the regulations is not focused on punishing, but educating the public and achieving the goal of stopping the spread of COVID-19. 

Ramsey County is currently at high risk for the spread of COVID-19 according to the NDDOH. The county has a daily positivity rate of 11.4 percent and currently has 106 active cases. Sunday saw four more cases arise from Ramsey County. Cavalier County is the only other county in the region that sits at a "high risk" status. Benson, Towner, Nelson, and Eddy counties are all at "moderate risk" for the spread of COVID-19. 

Jack Williams covers Lake Region sports and general news for The Devils Lake Journal. Contact him via email at JGWilliams1@gannett.com, on Twitter @jackgwilliams, or phone at 701-662-2127