By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Mayor Jacob Frey is recommending that residents and visitors wear masks indoors in Minneapolis as Hennepin County is now seeing substantial transmission of COVID-19, which health officials attribute to the Delta variant.

New policies that go into effect Wednesday require Minneapolis city employees to wear masks indoors and mandate that masks be worn inside all city buildings. Wearing masks inside other buildings is encouraged but will not be enforced.

Similar policies were also enacted in St. Paul, as Ramsey County is likewise experiencing substantial Delta spread. The new policies for both cities went into effect following the updated guidance last week from the Centers for Disease Control.

RELATED: Minneapolis, St. Paul Issue Mask Requirements Inside City Buildings

While filing for re-election Wednesday, Frey spoke with reporters, who asked if he would widen the city’s mask requirement to restaurants and retail shops. He said that he wants to avoid that at all costs and keep the city open and operating as is.

However, he said that the only way to keep the city operating is by getting as many people as possible vaccinated.

“Well, I think one of the things we need to be looking at is our legal ability to strongly — more strongly — incentivize vaccinations,” the mayor said. “I know there are a number of private institutions already that are saying, you know what, if you want to come into our private business, you got to be vaccinated yourself. I tell you what, I support that measure.”

The mayor did not mention requiring city employees to get vaccinated.

According to state statistics, nearly 78% of eligible residents in Hennepin County have received at least one vaccine shot while 74% are fully vaccinated. Those figures are among the highest for any county in the state.