BLAINE – (July 30, 2020) – Following last week’s statewide mask mandate, state leaders wanted to help get masks to those who might need them. This week, 4 million masks were sent to local chambers of commerce to get them to businesses.
“Keeping businesses open is the name of the game,” said MetroNorth Chamber president Lori Higgins.
The MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce in Blaine is one of many chambers across the state passing out a total of four million masks to local businesses.
“We have 36,000 masks on hand right now with the ability to get more,” said Higgins.
Through this statewide mask distribution, up to 186,000 masks could end up in the hands of Anoka County businesses – so those businesses could offer them to their customers.
“What the chamber of commerce understands is that we need to keep businesses open,” said Governor Tim Walz at a press conference. “We need to keep people employed, and we need to keep things moving forward.”
In the first day of mask distribution, Higgins says dozens of businesses have already collected masks to have on hand.
“We’ve had every type of business imaginable,” said Higgins, “It really runs the gambit.”
“If we are going to ask them to ask their customers and Minnesotans to wear a mask, we want to make sure that people have the masks to keep themselves and their neighbors safe,” said Walz.
This is not necessarily a long-term solution, but for now it will give customers a chance to buy what they need, even if they forgot their mask at home.
“The intent is that this is just to have customers understand now this particular business is under the mandate, and they will need a mask coming in. So then once they understand that they will probably bring a mask going forward,” said Higgins.
State leaders say this will be good for business and reduce the number of COVID-19 cases at the same time.
“The one thing we have need to get into discussion about is the science around public health, where we are all in agreement that we can o something together that not only makes businesses thrive, it keeps our public and people healthy,” said Walz.
Businesses can call their local chamber of commerce to get masks. It is available regardless of chamber membership. Right now, the MetroNorth Chamber has a limit of 250 masks per business.