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COVID Surge Has Minnesota Institutions, Including The State Fair, Taking Note: 'Everything...Is Still On The Table'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Changes are happening in Minnesota as COVID-19 cases surge.

Right now, 45 Minnesota counties fall within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines to wear masks indoors. When health experts first released the guidance last week, there were only 14.

Jerry Hammer, the Minnesota State Fair's general manager, is keeping an eye on the state's COVID situation.

"We're in close contact with the state health department and whatever the latest CDC guidelines are, so they're always a big part of whatever we do with planning," Hammer said.

As of now, masks will not be required, even indoors. The fair also won't be asking for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. But Hammer says "everything … is still on the table."

Mayors Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter, of Minneapolis and St. Paul respectively, share a similar wait-and-see approach. WCCO asked both their offices if they're considering reinstating mask mandates. Both said they're consulting with health officials and expect to know more this week.

State Fair Crowd
(credit: CBS)

First Avenue and its concert venues have taken more definitive action. To attend a show, people will now need either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the event.

Ashley Ryan, First Avenue's vice president of marketing, says that proof must be shown at the door like a ticket or ID. She says the policy update was an easy choice. They want to make sure they stay open.

"The worst-case scenario would be that we weren't being responsible, and we weren't trying to help out," Ryan said.
Masks at shows will still be voluntary for customers.

Other COVID protocol updates announced Monday include the University of Minnesota requiring masks indoors for everyone, vaccinated or not. Any student or employee attending in-person at the University of St. Thomas this fall will have to have gotten the vaccine. Target and Cub also both announced employees will need to wear masks. They encourage customers to do the same.

Allina Health and M Health Fairview also announced Monday that staff are require to get vaccinated by the fall.

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