Minnesota Eases COVID-19 Rules, Mask Mandate Ends By July 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday announced a three-step timeline for lifting nearly all the state’s COVID-19 restrictions by May 28 and dropping the statewide masking requirement no later than July 1, or once 70% of Minnesotans age 16 and older get their first dose of vaccine.
“Our nation-leading vaccination effort has put us in a strong position to safely transition toward life as we used to know it,” Walz said in a statement.
The first step, which takes effect at noon Friday, removes capacity limits for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers, and ends the mask requirement outdoors except for large venues with over 500 people. It also eliminates the state-established mandatory closing time for bars and restaurants.
The second step begins May 28, when remaining capacity and distancing limits will end, including for indoor events and gatherings. But masks will still be required indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people.
The third step, once the state hits the 70% vaccination target but no later than July 1, lifts all remaining masking requirements.
About 59% of Minnesota’s population 16 years and older has received at least one vaccine shot, and nearly 46% have completed the series. The governor’s office says the state is on track to hit the 70% mark by the end of June.