The city of Duluth is no longer enforcing its mask mandate, effective Friday.
Following the end of the statewide mask mandate Friday, the ordinance's authors plan to bring a repeal forward at the City Council meeting May 24.
“This decision is another step that illustrates that Duluth is emerging from the pandemic ready to embrace a return to community life that is meaningful and important.” Mayor Emily Larson said in a news release. “With the change in seasons and many people reuniting with family and friends again, we are ready and eager to fully recover from the impacts that COVID has left on our communities and across the world.”
Ordinances generally require two meetings before they are passed, but since the mask mandate was passed as an emergency ordinance in one meeting, it can also be repealed in one meeting, according to the release.
Regardless of lifted mask mandates, businesses and organizations can still require people to wear masks and the lifted restrictions are only for fully vaccinated people.
“We ask for the public’s help in continuing to abide by those requirements out of respect for those who work and receive services from within these venues," council vice president Arik Forsman said.
Gov. Tim Walz announced on Thursday the state's decision to lift the statewide mask mandate Friday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks.
The state was planning to lift the mask mandate when 70% of people age 16 and older had at least one dose of a vaccine, or on July 1 at the latest. Just over 60% of Minnesotans age 16 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine by Friday.
Since those under age 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, masks must continue to be worn by everyone in school buildings and on buses through the end of the school year, according to an email sent to schools from Minnesota Education Commission Heather Mueller.
The CDC's loosened mask guidelines do not apply to public transportation. Masks are still required on trains, buses and airplanes even if people are fully vaccinated. The Duluth Transit Authority said in a news release riders need to continue to wear masks on its buses and at its transfer facility.
Duluth's emergency mask ordinance was implemented July 13. The next week, the statewide mask mandate was implemented.
This story was published at 11:12 a.m. May 14. It was updated at noon May 14 with information on public transportation.