Minneapolis, St. Paul lift mask mandates for city-managed buildings

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Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have lifted mask mandates for city-managed buildings.

The cities announced the news Thursday morning, with the change taking effect immediately.

The announcement comes two weeks after the cities announced mask mandates for businesses licensed in the cities had ended, and just three days after Hennepin County and Minnesota Judicial Branch mask mandates expired.

“We continue to make policy decisions based on current data,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. “Minneapolis is sustaining a downward trend in case and hospitalization rates, and the new CDC indicators reflect a low community level classification in Hennepin County. Thanks to the dedication of our employees, we’ve reached the necessary benchmarks to safely lift this requirement for our workforce and buildings.”

“We are entering a new, promising phase of our recovery,” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter added. “While we still have work to do, I’m glad we are in the place to safely wind down emergency masking measures.”

The cities cited the continuing decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the reason for the move.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists both Hennepin and Ramsey counties as having “low” COVID-19 community levels, which is determined by the higher of the new admissions and inpatient beds metrics based on the current level of new cases per 100,000 people during the past 7 days. That data lists only three Minnesota counties — Polk, Olmsted and Wabasha — as still having “high” COVID-19 community levels while 24 counties have “medium” COVID-19 community levels.

Meanwhile, Hennepin County is listed by the CDC as having a moderate level of community transmission, while Ramsey County has a high level of transmission. Community transmission is based on the number of new cases per 100,000 people, as well as the percentage of positive tests for COVID-19, during the past seven days.