MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – People outside of the Twin Cities have varying opinions about Gov. Tim Walz lifting the state’s mask mandate.

In downtown Elk River, any change towards normalcy, seems welcome.

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“We’ve been wearing it for a while and it seems to be working, so why not,” said Greg Hanegraaf.

“I think if people are concerned they can still wear one but I think it’s good and we can start going back to normal,” said Derek Fromm.

The state mask mandate has been in place since last July. Now it will be up to local governments and individual businesses to decide whether they will still require masks.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are among cities that will maintain an indoor mask mandate until they’ve had more time to look at data and consult with health experts.

“Quite different being closed to open, to go to closed, to go back to open,” said Linda Frigaard, co-owner of Linda’s Cafe in Rogers. It has been a year of ups and downs and she’s encouraged by this news.

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Frigaard won’t require her diners to wear a mask, but her staff will keep wearing them. Even with the mandate gone, concerns still remain.

“Now that he lifted it you can’t really tell who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t. Just take them at their word I guess and hope for the best,” said Frigaard.

“It’s a personal preference for people, for the ones who wear one. I am personally in favor of it ending. I think it’s time,” said customer Glen Hunt.

Many of Linda’s customers are ready for the mandate to end, but they still expect to wear masks in some stores and businesses.

“If I walk into a business and they ask me to wear it, I will. I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. I will just go about my day,” said customer Donald Leuer.

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Target is among businesses that will continue to require masks inside their stores. The Mall of America will still require employees to wear them and anyone visiting Nickelodeon Universe. Shoppers are encouraged to wear them.

John Lauritsen