Minnesota is following the latest CDC guidance that states fully vaccinated people are not required to wear masks or be socially distant*. At the state level, masks are no longer required for those who have a completed a course of COVID-19 vaccination.
*Except, the full statement from the CDC website is as follows: “Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
Gov. Walz announced this lifting of restrictions in a press conference Thursday evening. The news comes as about 61% of eligible Minnesotans have received at least one dose, and more than 50% are fully vaccinated. (Previously, the stated goal was to reach 70% before lifting the mandate.)
This new recommendation was made based upon the CDC’s findings that: “Risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection is minimal for fully vaccinated people. The risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from fully vaccinated people to unvaccinated people is also reduced.”
So while Thursday’s announcement comes with a sense of relief, Minnesota has not reached herd immunity and there are plenty of exceptions.
Check what your city says. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul say that mask mandates are still in place pending further research.
Check what local businesses you frequent are saying. Many companies are keeping mask requirements for now. After reviewing their policies, Target and Starbucks have dropped their mask requirements—unless local regulations require it.
Check directly with schools. “Through the end of the 2020-21 school year (last teacher contact day), masks must continue to be worn by everyone inside school buildings or on a school bus,” according to the Minnesota Department of Education. For now, vaccine eligibility is limited to students 12 and older.
CDC says you’ll still need a mask to take a trip. “All travelers are required to wear a mask on all planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.”
There are other exceptions. Medical buildings, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters also still require masks. And look for signs providing guidance at local private businesses, such as restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and hotels.