Jun 2, 2021 - News

Minneapolis drops mask mandate, St. Paul follows

Illustration of a covid mask fading left to right.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Mayor Jacob Frey lifted Minneapolis' mask mandate on Tuesday, more than two weeks after Gov. Tim Walz ended the state's.

  • St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter is planning to follow suit Wednesday.

Driving the news: Frey said he made the decision after a thorough review of public health data, citing that 78.6% of residents age 15 and older have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Plus: The 7-day average of new COVID cases in Minnesota has plummeted to 332 per day, down from 1,500 a day four weeks ago, according to David Montgomery of MPR News.

The other side of the river: Carter said he was lifting St. Paul's mandate because of Frey's decision.

  • "While we are yet to reach the benchmarks set by local public health experts, the reality of a maskless Minneapolis limits the logic and efficacy of maintaining a masking order alone," he said in an emailed statement.
  • Carter didn't specify which benchmarks he wanted St. Paul to meet.

Of note: Ramsey County has a 73% vaccination rate, according to state health data.

Between the lines: Experts largely credit the state's high vaccination rates for the decline in virus spread.

"The potential hosts for a virus to land and cause new infection β€” the odds of that happening are shrinking every day. … Our vulnerability has gone down so much because of the number of people now protected by the vaccine."
β€” Mark Sannes, an infectious disease doctor at HealthPartners, told the Star Tribune

What's next: Frey said his staff will work with "community partners and neighboring jurisdictions to expand our outreach efforts in BIPOC and immigrant neighborhoods."

  • While the vaccination rate for white Minnesotans is 61%, the rate for Blacks is 45%, for American Indians it's 46%, and for Hispanics, 48%.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Twin Cities stories

No stories could be found

Twin Citiespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more