St. Paul will join Minneapolis in requiring face masks in many indoor spaces as part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter signed an executive order Wednesday requiring people to wear face masks in city-controlled buildings and businesses licensed by the city when social distancing is not a possibility. Minneapolis has issued similar guidelines, which went into effect Tuesday.
Like Minneapolis, St. Paul provides exceptions for young children and individuals otherwise unable to wear a mask for medical reasons. Business owners are encouraged to require masks in their buildings.
Face masks do not need to be medical grade, according to Carter’s executive order. Homemade, cloth masks work as long as they cover the mouth and nose.
“Continuing to support our public health and safety as we reopen the economy and get all of us back to work is critical,” said Carter in a statement.
Metro Transit had also already begun requiring face masks for riders.
The executive order comes as the state prepares to begin allowing restaurants and bars to open up for outdoor seating at limited capacity on June 1. Salons and barbershops are also set to open at limited capacity. Many retail stores have already been allowed to reopen.
The Center for Disease Control began encouraging people to wear face masks in public last month. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Wednesday he wears a face mask to protect himself and others as well as to be a “symbol” of best practices, according to Politico.