Minnesota Enacts Face Covering MandateOn Wednesday, July 22 Governor Tim Walz announced a state-wide mask mandate that took effect on Saturday, July 25.

Here we will address when and where you will need to wear a mask per the state mandate and how that pertains to your trip to the North Shore. Below is a summary of how this mandate may affect your trip to the North Shore. It is not all-inclusive of the mandate, which you can read here.

If driving from another state that doesn’t have a mask mandate, be aware that once your cross in Minnesota you will need to abide by the state mandate. If you are already in Minnesota, you are likely already aware that the mandate exists. Below are some examples of when and where you will need to wear a mask (and when you won’t) during your trip to the North Shore.

You will need to wear a face covering when…

1) When indoors in a business and public indoor space. This includes gas stations, grocery stores, gift shops, resort lobbies, resort public areas (like game rooms), and restaurants prior to drinks and food being served.

2) When present at a business, whether indoor or outdoor, that has additional face covering requirements. This may include public courtyard spaces and outdooring dining spaces, when required by the establishment.

3) While not required under the mandate, face coverings are encouraged in outdoor public spaces where social distancing is not possible. This could include while waiting for line for pizza or donuts in downtown Grand Marais.

You do NOT need to wear face coverings when…

1) You are in your vacation rental. Consider it like your home for the duration of your stay. If you are staying at a resort area, like Bluefin Bay or Caribou Highlands, you are required to wear a mask in public gathering spaces, like lobbies and restaurants. Otherwise, you can go face covering-free in your rental as you would in your own home.

2) When outdoors or participating in recreation for private purposes. This includes when you are spending time outdoors at one of our beautiful state parks. However, if you go into a Visitor’s Center or other indoor gathering place, you will need to wear a mask while indoors.

You can temporarily remove your face coverings when…

1) While eating or drinking at a restaurant. You will need to wear a mask while being seated and when not actually eating or drinking, but can remove it once drinks and food are served.

2) When purchasing alcohol if verifying your identity to the clerk.

3) When swimming, such as in an indoor pool at a resort, or whenever your face covering could get wet. You should plan to wear your mask into the area, but can remove it once you begin swimming.

4) When communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.

5) When participating in indoor physical exercise. For instance, if you wanted to visit our YMCA and work out while here. Note that the actual gym may have different requirements and you should inquire as to what their requirements for face coverings are.

Some people are exempt from wearing face coverings, including…

1) Children under age 2 must NOT wear a mask. Children between the ages of 2 and 5 are not required to wear a face covering, but are encouraged to do so when in public, if they can.

2) People who have a medical or other health condition, disability or mental health, developmental, or behavioral needs that make it difficult to wear a face covering. Note that businesses can still refuse entry to someone not wearing a mask if they offer an alternative way to shop, such as curbside pick-up or delivery.

Types of face coverings includes…

1) Disposable masks, cloth masks, neck gaiters, scarves, bandannas, face buffs, or religious face coverings. The face covering must cover the nose and the mouth completely but should not be so tight that you cannot breath! Face coverings should not have holes or visible gaps in the design or material (crocheted or lace face masks would not suffice).

2) It is not known if Face Shields offer the same control of droplets as face masks, but they can be worn in situations when wearing a mask may be problematic. This includes for those with disabilities or anyone who feels they cannot wear a disposable or cloth mask comfortably.

3) Medical-grade masks, such as N95 respirators) are sufficient, but these masks should be reserved for those working in health care. The general public is discouraged from wearing medical-grade masks at this time.

Special Note About Cascade Vacation Rentals and Face Coverings…

We hope that you have a wonderful and flawless trip to the North Shore. However, all of our rentals are privately owned and like any other home, maintenance issues sometimes arise. If your home needs the service of one of our amazing Cascade Maintenance Service personnel during your stay, you will be asked to leave the rental while the maintenance person is there. We can schedule services for when you are already planning to be out of the home in most cases.

If you are not planning to leave we just ask that you step outside during their visit. The maintenance staff will wear face coverings as well as gloves, although gloves may need to be removed depending on the needs of the maintenance person. When they are done, they will disinfect any areas they were in and anything they touched so that you can be assured your home is clean. This is the only staff person you may have to come into contact with during your stay.

Please remember that our local business did not enact this mandate, but they do have to enforce it. If you need a face covering during your visit you can pick up a Visit Cook County face buff at our offices in Lutsen at 5335 Highway 61 in Lutsen or at the Visit Cook County Visitor’s Center at 116 W Highway 61 in Grand Marais. Most businesses also have masks for sale. At this time, we do not know how long the mandate will go on for. When they Governor lifts the mandate, we will update this post!