Wes Flinn, a candidate for City Council, suggested to the Council they issue a statement encouraging -- but not mandating -- that citizens wear masks when in public. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

With the governor mulling over the idea of mandating the wearing of masks in public places to contain the spread of the coronavirus, an unmasked Morris City Council discussed what action the city should take on the matter at their meeting last night at the Morris Senior Center.

Before the debate and during the public comment period, Morris resident and recently declared candidate for City Council Wes Flinn suggested that the Council encourage but not mandate the wearing of masks. The Council largely followed the suggestion in their debate of the issue, as most members were hesitant to issue a mandate. Council member Brian Solvie saw it as an issue of individual rights and did not know how the city could police such a mandate. Member Kevin Wohlers said the residents have proven they can do a good job of containing the virus, as reflected in the relatively low number of confirmed cases in the area.

In the end, Mayor Sheldon Giese was able to issue this public statement:

“I would encourage the people of Morris — and the people in and around Morris — to wear masks when they can in all public areas and in businesses where possible. It is not a mandate. Please follow the governor and the CDC guidance for any further updates,” read the mayor.

Governor Walz is expected to issue guidance on the mask issue this week.

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