Walz to End State Mask Mandate Following New Federal Guidance
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is ending the state mask mandate, an announcement that followed new federal recommendations on face coverings.
Walz said he would sign executive orders Friday ending the mask mandate he enacted by emergency authority in July. However, state health officials recommend that people who are not fully vaccinated or may be asymptomatic either get their shots or keep wearing masks.
Earlier in the day, the CDC ceased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and most indoor settings.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the highlight of the new CDC guidance is that it shows the science is getting increasingly clear about the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing the illness. Malcolm said it would be impossible for the state to enforce a mask mandate solely for people who are not vaccinated.
One place masks will still be worn is in Minnesota schools. Because the majority of Minnesota students are not yet fully vaccinated, the Minnesota Department of Education has directed the current exiting face covering guidance for schools and child care settings remain in effect through the last day of school. That means masks must continue to be worn by everyone inside school buildings or on school buses.