Frey, Carter issue new masking guidance amid delta variant spread and COVID-19 case increases in Twin Cities

August 3, 2021

Today, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter issued new masking guidance for indoor space in the Twin Cities along with requirements for the local governments’ staff and City-owned buildings. As data continues to emerge demonstrating the delta variant’s heightened rate of transmission among both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents, the mayors are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and encouraging everyone to resume masking when indoors and requiring masks for those in City-owned buildings and City staff.

“Get vaccinated,” said Frey. “Getting the vaccine will help protect you and your neighbors from a deadly virus and it is the single most important action we can all take to curb the need for further restrictions.”

“This pandemic is far from over,” said Carter. “These measures will help protect us as we continue our work to get our entire community vaccinated."

Recent guidance from the CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with “substantial” (50-100 cases per 100,000) or “high” (100 or more cases per 100,000) transmission of COVID-19. As of Friday, July 30, Minneapolis was experiencing a seven-day case rate of 78.6 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people – meaning the city is within the “substantial” transmission category – and health experts expect this number to rise.

Minneapolis Health Department officials and City leaders will revisit this recommendation in the coming weeks as they continue to monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths and increasing vaccination rates in the City and throughout the region.

Businesses are urged to adopt universal masking requirements for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers. Also in accordance with CDC guidelines, restaurants and bar owners are encouraged to follow the CDC’s guiding principles for promoting behaviors that reduce virus spread, maintaining healthy environments and operations, and preparing for when an employee gets sick. 

Both mayors are exploring options regarding a vaccine requirement for City employees.

Official policy for Minneapolis City buildings and staff

Effective Aug. 4, 2021, any individual who is over age 2 and able to medically tolerate a face covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face covering in accordance with CDC guidance when inside all buildings and facilities owned or operated by the City of Minneapolis, including Minneapolis City Hall, regardless of vaccination status.

Effective Aug. 4, 2021, all City employees able to medically tolerate a face covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face covering in accordance with CDC guidance when inside all spaces of public accommodation located within the City of Minneapolis regardless of vaccination status.

CDC recommendation language

To maximize protection from the delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area. You should continue to wear a mask where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.

Find the Minneapolis emergency regulation on the City of Minneapolis website.