We Shouldn’t Force People to Wear Masks, We Should Encourage Them to Choose Masks


MINOT, N.D. — During a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Doug Burgum, while simultaneously reiterating his long-standing support for wearing masks during the pandemic, again declined to issue a mask mandate that would punish citizens for not wearing them.

“We’ve had a great track record so far of relying on personal responsibility, and I guess I’m still hoping in my heart of hearts that North Dakota can step up and figure out a way to get it done (through) local leadership and local execution,” the typically candid Burgum said. “Maybe in some other states (mask mandates) might work, but in North Dakota, it doesn’t matter what we do or what we say: There are people who will not wear a mask.”

Many are having trouble seeing the logic in Burgum’s position (which is one I share on this issue), so let me take a stab at explaining it.

The public has been inundated with information about masks. The government has done it at the federal, state and local levels. Burgum himself launched a statewide campaign called #MaskUpND. The news media, too, has prodded the public toward masking.

Still, there are holdouts.

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