LIVE VIDEO: Walz expected to end state mask mandate, some locations to keep requirement

Friday, Gov. Tim Walz is expected to remove the state’s mask mandate Friday.

He is convening a State Executive Council meeting, to discuss the mandate as well as emergency powers.

Gov. Walz to sign executive order ending statewide mask mandate on Friday

The meeting comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its guidance for people who are fully vaccinated.

The new guidelines are promising for those who are vaccinated in Minnesota, but the state’s health department indicated this doesn’t mean the pandemic is over.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm warned that at this point, there are not enough people vaccinated.

"This is still so much in our hands, in our individual hands, to make well-informed decisions for ourselves and our families and to really just know people are still in different risk situations," Malcolm said.

Before the guidelines were announced Thursday, Walz originally said the goal was to end the mask mandate once at least 70% of Minnesotans 16 and older had at least one dose of the vaccine or July 1, whichever came first. The state hasn’t reached that benchmark yet. On Thursday, ahead of the CDC’s announcement, the governor told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he expected to reach that benchmark by mid-June.

KSTP medical expert Dr. Archelle Georgiou said she was surprised by the governor’s quick decision.

"I have cautious optimism, because while they are lifting the mask mandate for people who are vaccinated, I think everyone—even unvaccinated—could be hearing they don’t need to wear masks anymore and that is concerning to me."

Health officials say those who are not vaccinated still need to wear a mask. And even with the new rules, masks are required in certain places, including hospitals, homeless shelters, and on buses and planes.

The mandate is also still in place for public schools at this time.

Minneapolis Mayor Jaccob Frey said he is keeping the indoor mask mandate.

According to a city spokesperson, Frey will continue to meet with health experts to determine a timeline for the next steps. The spokesperson added private offices would not be impacted by the order unless they choose to implement their own requirements.

In St. Paul, Mayor Melvin Carter also said the mandate will stay.

Breaking with Walz, Minneapolis, St. Paul mayors keep mask mandates in place

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talked with Minnesotans about the changes.

"I was really surprised too, I thought it was going to be a lot longer, even longer than July," Delores Pope, a Minneapolis resident, said. "I think they should still wear it for a lot longer."

Walz and health officials also agreed this is an opportunity for those who are fully vaccinated to start reaping the benefits. But again, they stressed there’s more work to be done.

Friday’s State Executive Council meeting is expected to begin at 12:15 p.m. You can watch via and follow updates on 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

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