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 — 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."
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%.

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