Did you wake up this past Saturday morning to Governor Doug Burgum's bombshell announcement? He did it, folks - effective November 14, at 12:01 AM, North Dakota has a statewide mask mandate. This announcement came only 10 days after he was re-elected for a second four-year term as governor.

Until at least December 13, North Dakotans will be required to wear masks, basically everywhere in public. Here's where we have to wear masks:

  • Public Indoor Spaces and Businesses - Even when waiting outdoors
    • Does not apply to living spaces, unless workers are entering a home for business purposes.
    • Does not apply in private vehicles being used for private purposes
  • Public Outdoor Spaces and Businesses - Where physical distance cannot be maintained
  • Public Transportation - Use of taxis, rideshares, etc.

There are some exceptions to the statewide mask mandate. The people who do not have to wear masks include:

  • Tribal Activities and Lands - Tribal activities on reservations are exempt
  • Exempt Individuals
    • Medical Conditions - "People with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering."
      • These individuals should consider using face covering alternatives and stay home as much as possible.
    • Children Four and Under - Under two never should wear a face covering because of suffocation risk.
    • Anyone working in a place where a face covering would create a job hazard.

There is also a list of instances people may unmask. On top of all that, businesses must require all patrons of their buildings to wear masks. Notices about store mask policies should be posted and should also provide accommodations for people with health-related reasons for not wearing a mask. Read the mandate measure here.

I have been a place or two since our new statewide mask mandate. It is like the governor never made this overnight announcement, because I still see people not wearing masks and store mandates not being enforced. Will North Dakotans follow Governor Burgum's statewide mask mandate?