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Minneapolis, St. Paul End COVID Mask Mandates

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey lifted his city's one-year-old mask mandate Tuesday, and St. Paul followed suit on Wednesday.

Mayor Frey said a major factor in the decision was that 78.6% of city residents 15 and older have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"After a thorough review of public health data, Minneapolis is reaching vaccination rates above the recommended threshold for safely lifting this policy -- but it doesn't mean the pandemic is over," Frey said. "Our team at the local level will continue working with trusted community partners and neighboring jurisdictions to expand our outreach efforts in BIPOC and immigrant neighborhoods."

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced later Tuesday that his city's mandate would end Wednesday. The mayor made the move official Wednesday afternoon.

"Thanks to the heroic efforts of our health care providers, Saint Paul is poised to meet the benchmarks set by local public health experts in a matter of days," Carter said in a release. "But our work is not done; we urge all residents to continue taking precautions and to get vaccinated as soon as possible."

The city said nearly 71% of Ramsey County's 12+ population has received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The moves comes more than two weeks after Gov. Tim Walz lifted the statewide mask mandate, following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Masks are still required inside Minneapolis Public Schools and St. Paul schools until further notice, and individual businesses and organizations may still require customers to wear them. Masks are also still required inside hospitals, airports, planes, and on Metro Transit buses and light rail trains.

Mayor Frey first issued the mandate on May 21, 2020.

About 65% of Minnesotans 16 or older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

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