ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - At least eight Republican senators did not wear masks on the Minnesota State Senate floor for Tuesday's oaths of office and delivery of election certificates.
The senators were: Mark Johnson, Paul Utke, Justin Eichorn, Carrie Ruud, Jeff Howe, Andrew Mathews, Mark Koran and Dave Osmek.
A coronavirus outbreak hit the GOP caucus in November after a large, in-person dinner party, and then-Sen. Jerry Relph died of COVID-19 last month. In November, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said he was "committed to protecting senators, staff" during the 2021 session.
State Sen. Matt Klein, a medical doctor, scolded the unmasked senators.
"Not only does it create risk for our neighbors but it sets a bad example of leadership in an area where easy and good leadership would be so simple to do – a mask on the face, showing our constituents that this is serious," said Klein, DFL-Mendota Heights.
The Minnesota Legislature kicked off the 2021 session on Tuesday, a session that is expected to be dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.