Two separate groups of truckers, traveling east under the "American Freedom Convoy" umbrella, are set to cross into and through Minnesota by the end of the week.
One convoy leaving from Minot, North Dakota, is expected to reach Fargo around 5 p.m. Thursday, after which the drivers will head into Minnesota and spend the nights in the Sauk Centre area, according to a recently updated online schedule. On Friday morning the group, taking the "Midwest Route," will continue on I-94 to Hudson.
The second convoy (the I-90E Route), which started in Tacoma, Washington, should hit Sioux Falls, South Dakota, late Thursday, where they'll spend the night. On Friday, the participants will take I-90 across southern Minnesota, through Albert Lea and to Oakdale, Wisconsin.
Organizers have been sharing planned stops along the routes, with local champions of these convoys hoping to show support at the designated truck stops.
Those on the Midwest Route don't have any planned stops between Sauk Centre and Hudson, while the I-90 group plans to make a pit stop in Albert Lea around mid-day, but that's it for Minnesota stops.
The plan is for these convoys to join up with the four other others in Ohio, before they all head to the Washington D.C. area.
The movement is somewhat loosely organized, with a few groups claiming a stake in the convoy and its goals. Broadly, however, participants and supporters have decried "mandates" — specifically any public health restrictions related to COVID.
The only federal mandates in place require people to wear face masks on public transportation, including on planes and in airports, and a vaccination requirement for staff at any facilities that accept Medicaid or Medicare payments.
A Biden Administration rule that would have required large companies to ensure employees were vaccinated or tested weekly was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Former President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in March of 2020, at the start of the COVID pandemic. Current President Joe Biden has extended the emergency declaration, which remains in effect today.
Mask and vaccination rules have, throughout the pandemic, generally been left to local governments, including cities, counties and states, though many of those have been repealed as COVID-19 cases have dropped in recent months.