MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul have reinstated mask requirements for businesses amid a rise in COVID-19 cases brought on by the Omicron variant.
In both cities, the requirement goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
“We have to keep our city healthy and moving. Wearing a mask is an obvious next step to do both,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
Under Minneapolis’ executive order, patrons, employees and visitors must wear a mask in all businesses, including bars, restaurants, museums, schools and retail locations.
St. Paul’s requirement similarly applies to all city-licensed businesses and city-controlled facilities, when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not maintained.
“Reinstating the masking requirement is an important step in keeping our communities safe amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in Saint Paul,” Carter said. “This, alongside our work to ensure Saint Paul residents have the tools and access they need to get vaccinated are paramount to recovering from this pandemic and building toward our future.”
The requirements do not apply to young children and people who cannot medically wear a face covering.
Minnesota Vikings spokesperson Jeff Anderson said in a statement ahead of Sunday’s game that fans will be required to wear masks at all times while in U.S. Bank Stadium, except when eating or drinking.
“As we have throughout the pandemic, we continue to comply with state and local guidelines in the best interests of health and safety,” Anderson said.
The Minnesota Wild issued a similar statement ahead of Saturday’s home, featuring the same masking requirements for Xcel Energy Center attendees.
Health officials in Minnesota reported over 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, in addition to a seven-day positivity rate of 13.4%.
Frey and Carter had lifted the year-long mandate in early June, as roughly 70% of each city’s eligible residents had received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.