Gov. extends state mask mandate
By Neal A. Shipman
North Dakotans are going to have to get used to wearing masks a little while longer after Interim State Health Officer Dirk Wilke extended his order to Jan. 18, 2021. The order took effect Nov. 14 and was originally set to expire Monday, Dec. 14.
Under the health department order, all North Dakotans are required to wear face masks in indoor businesses and indoor public settings, as well as outdoor public settings where physical distancing isn’t possible.
The amended order still includes exceptions for children under age 5, individuals with a medical or mental health condition or disability that makes it unreasonable to wear a mask and religious services.
In addition, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum extended his executive order that limits bar and restaurant capacity to 50 percent and closed in-person service from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., as well as limits large venues to 25 percent capacity to Jan. 8. The order has been in place since Nov. 16, and was originally set to expire Dec. 13.
The health department and executive order extensions are part of the state’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus and preserve hospital capacity as the state continues to see a significant number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths even as active cases decline.