Minneapolis and St. Paul may be lifting their vaccine-or-test mandates in the coming days as the latest COVID-19 surge continues to subside.
The Twin Cities' vaccine-or-test rule for dining went into effect on Jan. 19. The City of St. Paul's vax-or-test mandate was set to expire after 40 days, and it appears it could end earlier.
“With a promising downward trend of case counts in Ramsey County, we look forward to discontinuing the requirement as soon as possible,” Mayor Melvin Carter said in a statement.
The mayor has been in close contact with public health officials and is hopeful that he can list the vaccine-or-test mandate this week. However, the mask requirement will continue at this time.
Meanwhile, the City of Minneapolis may do the same. Mayor Jacob Frey didn't issue a specific end date for the city's vax-or-test mandate but this week his office said the mayor hopes to lift the mandate "as soon as evidence supports the decision," noting the end of this week is a "possibility" but he wants to review the data with experts.
In Duluth, Mayor Emily Larson will let the local state of emergency declaration and 30-day face-covering requirement end on its expiration date, a news release says. The declaration is set to expire at 5 p.m. on Feb. 12.
“As we lift this order, it’s really important to remember that we are not done with COVID-19,” Larson said in a statement. “People are still getting sick, and some are dying. Some people will get by with no symptoms, and others will require a ventilator. This is still a dangerous time, and it’s important to respect the choices of each workplace, business, and organization that are trying to work through the complications of operating amid a pandemic.”
The Minnesota Department of Health's COVID-19 update on Wednesday showed 3,833 newly reported cases and 40 newly reported deaths.
The state's seven-day test positivity rate average was 14.3% through Feb. 1, but this is down from the high of more than 22% seen during the peak of the omicron variant surge in January.