In light of the highly transmissible Delta variant that has caused an increase of COVID-19 cases in the Twin Cities, on Tuesday, both Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter issued new masking guidance for indoor spaces in the Twin Cities along with requirements for the local governments’ staff and City-owned buildings.
As data continues to emerge demonstrating the Delta variant’s heightened rate of transmission among both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents, the mayors are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and encouraging everyone to resume masking when indoors and requiring masks for those in City-owned buildings and City staff.
“Get vaccinated,” said Frey in a statement. “Getting the vaccine will help protect you and your neighbors from a deadly virus, and it is the single most important action we can all take to curb the need for further restrictions.”
“This pandemic is far from over,” said Carter. “These measures will help protect us as we continue our work to get our entire community vaccinated.”
Recent guidance from the CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with “substantial” (50-100 cases per 100,000) or “high” (100+ cases per 100,000) transmission of COVID-19. As of Friday, July 30, Minneapolis was experiencing a 7-day case rate of 78.6 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people – meaning the city is within the “substantial” transmission category – and health experts expect this number to rise.
Minneapolis Health Department Officials and City leaders will revisit this recommendation in the coming weeks as they continue to monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths, and increasing vaccination rates in the City and throughout the region.
Businesses are urged to adopt universal masking requirements for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers. Also in accordance with CDC guidelines, restaurants and bar owners are encouraged to follow CDC’s guiding principles for promoting behaviors that reduce virus spread, maintaining healthy environments and operations, and preparing for when an employee gets sick.
Both mayors are exploring options regarding a vaccine requirement for City employees.
The official policies for Minneapolis City buildings and staff are as follows:
Effective August 4, 2021, any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering in accordance with CDC guidance when inside all buildings and facilities owned or operated by the City of Minneapolis, including Minneapolis City Hall, regardless of vaccination status.
Effective August 4, 2021, all City employees able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering in accordance with CDC guidance when inside all spaces of public accommodation located within the City of Minneapolis regardless of vaccination status.
Following the Twin Cities masking guidance, Hennepin County also re-issued a face-covering requirement starting on Wednesday, August 4. Face-coverings will be required inside all Hennepin County buildings. This will apply to all employees, volunteers, and visitors ages five and up, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings will be available to those who don’t have one.
For info on state vaccination locations, go to VaccineConnector.mn.gov.