Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Don’t be an outlaw in Northfield: Protect the herd August 2, 2020

In the front display window of a downtown Northfield, Minnesota, business.

 

SUPERHEROES mask up.

 

The image represents the James-Younger Gang.

 

As do outlaws.

 

The reason the Rare Pair gives for wearing face masks.

 

And those who love others.

 

“Protect the herd” plays off the city’s “Cows, Colleges and Contentment” slogan. Northfield is home to Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges.

 

When I walked through downtown Northfield—the place of Cows, Colleges and Contentment—on Friday evening, I intentionally looked for signage on Minnesota’s new face mask mandate. This college city did not disappoint. I found signs ranging from serious to humorous.

 

More humor in a COVID-19 sign that relates to safe practices outdoors.

 

I especially welcomed those that made me laugh, something we all need in these days of living with COVID-19, when even leaving our homes sometimes seems like venturing into the Wild Wild West.

 

Site of the famous bank raid, now a museum.

 

Tour the museum and learn the story of the bank raid.

 

Northfield Historical Society face mask humor..

 

At the Northfield Historical Society, the historians draw on Northfield’s claim to fame—the defeat of the James-Younger Gang during an 1876 robbery of the First National Bank—to get across the mask mandate message. Please Don’t Be an Outlaw, states the message on museum doors.

 

A message posted on the front door of Antiques of Northfield.

 

At Antiques of Northfield, a personal note from Carole about the store’s temporary closure made me simultaneously laugh at her comment and then reflect. Too many of our seniors have died as a result of contracting COVID-19.

 

The sign on the door of The Contented Cow, a British style pub in downtown Northfield.

 

Some mask signs are more straightforward, like at The Contented Cow, with a please added to the request.

 

This Northfield business wants to stay open.

 

At a home furnishings and floor covering store, they want customers to mask up so businesses can stay open, as good a reason as any for masks.

 

The #1 reason to mask up.

 

I appreciate, too, the signage that states the clear and obvious scientific reason for wearing a face mask during a global pandemic: for our health & yours.

 

For those who forgot their masks… Note that a new Minnesota state law went into effect on August 1, raising the age to buy tobacco to 21. These signs were photographed on July 31.

 

At the tobacco shop, customers can even get a free mask inside the store.

 

Customers can’t possibly miss all the signage at this Northfield business.

 

Whatever it takes. We all need to get the message loud and clear that masks help stop the spread of this virus. Yeah, they’re uncomfortable and hot and diminish social interaction. But we can manage those minor inconveniences because, you know, this is something simple we can do to show our care for others and protect each other.

 

Just do it. Wearing a mask is required in indoor public places in Minnesota.

 

And masks are mandatory in Minnesota, along with 32 others states (as of this writing).

 

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

8 Responses to “Don’t be an outlaw in Northfield: Protect the herd”

  1. Washe Koda Says:

    ‘𝕊𝕥𝕒𝕪 𝕊𝕒𝕗𝕖 𝕠𝕦𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖’ 😉

  2. valeriebollinger Says:

    Fun signs, in my hometown. I’ll have to go and take a look! HA

  3. I love the cow sign of protect the herd. I believe I must be a Vulcan as I believe the “needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few, or the one.” I am sure someone will bend these words to feel that only a few get the virus, but public health and science proves that we all are at risk. Wear a mask and protect yourself and the human herd.

    • Paula, thank you for continuing to advocate care for others via wearing masks and more.

      I was dismayed by the protests this weekend at the Minnesota state capitol by those against wearing face masks. I just don’t understand this viewpoint. Those supporting the face mask mandate were also in attendance.

      I’m especially worried about the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., this week with up to 250,000 bikers expected. I expect many Minnesotans will be in attendance (including one from my husband’s workplace). That worries me. South Dakota, with no lockdowns or mandates, is showing seemingly no concern about COVID-19 and its spread. It really is the Wild Wild West. The decision to hold this rally baffles me. What part don’t government leaders there not understand about the seriousness of this virus and its spread?


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