MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis and St. Paul have lifted their mask mandates, effective immediately, the mayors of both cities announced Thursday.
"Today, the Twin Cities has good reason to be hopeful for the future, and I know that our residents will continue stepping up for one another as we navigate this next phase together," Mayor Jacob Frey said. "While Minneapolis is experiencing a sustained downward trend in case and hospitalization rates, our public health team will continue closely monitoring relevant data – and that data will continue guiding policy decisions going forward."
"Encouraging downward trends have improved our outlook significantly since January," Mayor Melvin Carter said. "I urge our community to continue following public health guidance and keep our momentum going."
Both cities had reenacted mask mandates last month as the Omicron variant fueled a surge in cases in the metro and statewide. The cities still recommend mask-wearing indoors, but no longer require it.
The latest numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health show that, statewide, the average COVID-19 positivity rate is at 7.5%, above the caution line but below the high risk threshold. That rate had peaked at nearly 24% last month and has been falling ever since.
City officials said Minneapolis' seven-day new case rate is at 135 per 100,000 people, and that the rate has been "dropping rapidly and steadily."
Minneapolis' mandate required mask-wearing at "any indoor locations where members of the public gather, visit, or patronize." St. Paul's affected all businesses licensed by the city.
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