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The University of Minnesota is introducing a COVID-19 policy that mandates proof of vaccination or a negative test before entering any indoor event with more than 200 people in attendance. It will go into effect Jan. 26. 

The mandate will require all people attending sporting events, theater and musical performances – and any other event of at least 200 people – to show proof of vaccination or provide proof of a negative test. 

This policy comes on the heels of Minneapolis and St. Paul passing a policy that requires proof of vaccination or a negative test (no more than 72 hours old) for indoor dining beginning Jan. 19. The mandates are happening as COVID-19 surges on the back of the highly transmissible omicron variant. 

The U of M precondition, however, will not go into effect until Wednesday, Jan. 26 and will last until "at least" Wednesday, Feb. 9. The policy includes all U of M campuses: Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester.

Because the policy doesn't go into effect until Jan. 26, proof of vaccination or a negative test will not be required at the upcoming Gophers basketball, hockey and wrestling events in Minneapolis. 

  • Jan. 14-15: Gopher men's hockey vs. Alaska
  • Jan. 14: Gopher wrestling vs. Nebraska
  • Jan. 15: Gopher women's hockey vs. Minnesota State
  • Jan. 16: Gopher men's basketball vs. Iowa
  • Jan. 16: Gopher wrestling vs. Wisconsin
  • Jan. 21-22: Gopher men's hockey vs. Michigan
  • Jan. 21-22: Gopher women's hockey vs. Wisconsin
  • Jan. 22: Gopher men's basketball vs. Rutgers

The policy will be in place for three basketball games (1 men, 2 women) and four hockey games (2 each for men and women). No home wrestling matches fall under the Jan. 26-Feb. 9 timeline. 

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It should also be noted that state health officials have said that the peak of the omicron surge will likely happen before the end of January, at which point they are hopeful for a rapid decrease in cases – as has been seen in areas of the world first hit by the omicron wave. 

"We are going to be in some really, really constrained circumstances in these next few weeks," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, speaking this week about limited hospital capacity. "We are hopeful that it's a rapid rise and rapid decline in terms of number of cases. But these next few weeks are going to be something that we've not seen before in Minnesota, ever, in most of our entire careers – this degree of capacity challenge in our healthcare system."

The University of Minnesota already requires students, faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate student workers, adjuncts, professionals in training, residents, and fellows to submit proof of vaccination or submit a religious or medical exemption.

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