WEST FARGO — Since the North Dakota mask mandate was allowed to expire Monday, Jan. 18, the city of West Fargo will continue to uphold its "mask strategy," which strongly recommends the public wear a mask when social distancing is not possible, but unlike a mandate, cannot be enforced.
Mayor Bernie Dardis said Monday that although many city leaders urged Gov. Doug Burgum to extend the statewide mandate, he did not heed their wishes.
Dardis suggested the city's mask strategy, which was also set to expire Monday, be extended.
"The science has proven to me over this long time we've been dealing with this, the masks help," Dardis said. "I had to pick something up at one of the box stores today and they are continuing with this."
Commissioner Mark Simmons made a motion to encourage the mask strategy continues through Feb. 15.
"There is no enforcement attached to our mask strategy. It's a strong encouragement to the public to continue to protect themselves and others," Dardis said.
Commissioner Mandy George said she continues to be strongly opposed to any mask mandates or recommendations.
"You can agree or disagree with that. The public is tired of this; I think they should have a choice," George said.
Dardis said since there is no enforcement of the mask strategy, the public will still have the choice to wear one.
After the state reduced Cass County's risk level from orange to yellow, the city of West Fargo opened its public buildings once again to the public. However, Monday's City Commission meeting was still held virtually.
City Administrator Tina Fisk said staff will be asking for the commission's discretion concerning holding in-person future meetings, although the capacity of the City Commission Chambers remains reduced to 50 percent.