FARGO — The Fargo City Commission voted 3-2 Monday night, Jan. 25, to keep in place a mandate requiring the wearing of masks when people are in certain indoor settings.
Commissioner Dave Piepkorn asked the commission to drop the rule, arguing recent COVID-19 numbers for Fargo show the measure is no longer necessary.
"Numbers right now don't justify the rule we have right now," Piepkorn told the commission before Monday's vote.
Piepkorn was joined by Commissioner Tony Gehrig in voting to drop the mask mandate, while Commissioners John Strand and Arlette Preston, along with Mayor Tim Mahoney, voted to keep the rule in place for now.
Strand told Piepkorn before the vote that he was close to agreeing on a change, but he said he wanted to let a little more time pass and have more people vaccinated first.
Preston told commissioners Fargo Cass Public Health officials have asked that the mask rule remain in place a bit longer to allow for more vaccinations to take place before relaxing the city's mandate.
Commissioners voted on Jan. 11 to extend the city's mask mandate by one month, from Jan. 18 through Feb. 18.
North Dakota's state mask mandate expired on Jan. 18 after Gov. Doug Burgum did not take action to extend it.
At the time Fargo extended its mask mandate, Mahoney said people were doing a good job of wearing masks, though he added until more people are vaccinated he supported extending Fargo's rule for another month.
Two individuals who addressed commissioners during the public input part of Monday's commission meeting spoke out against measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as mask wearing, maintaining they were not necessary or effective.