Battle for masks in youth activities resurfaces as schools and local governments reinstate mask warrants


This week, Let Them Play Minnesota, along with 35 other Minnesota parent groups, sent a letter to Governor Tim Walz and President Joe Biden rejecting “lockdowns and forced hiding,” whether in schools or by Sport.

“Thirty thousand families are currently saying, ‘We just had it, we have to unmask our children if we are to do that,” said Gillman.

Even though a school district does not have a mask policy, some counties and cities do, such as Minnetonka.

“When we looked at the CDC’s recommendations, we again looked at our facilities and their impact not only on our employees but also on visitors,” said Andrew Wittenborg, communications director of Minnetonka.

The city’s mandate means that all staff and visitors must wear masks in city buildings. This includes ice rinks, which means all players and spectators should wear a mask when watching or playing.

“There are a lot of parents reaching out and a lot of hockey tournaments starting and going where people are just blown away that it’s happening again,” said Gillman. “I would look for options. I would speak with my hockey association.

Edina’s Braemar Arena is also run by the city. According to its website, it hosts more than 5,000 visitors a year and more than 20 tournaments, but its mask policy only concerns city workers, not skaters or spectators.

Minnetonka acknowledges the divide on this issue, but says her decision was made solely on health and safety.

“We never really considered the economic impact. It was about public health recommendations, about safety recommendations,” Wittenborg said.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS contacted the Minnetonka Hockey Association and the Minnetonka Figure Skating Club – the two groups that use the arenas – but had no response.


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