Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has issued an emergency regulation requiring masks for the city, effective January 6. The order applies to any individual, over the age of 2 and regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask while in indoor public spaces. Exceptions are made while individuals are eating or drinking and also for athletes, performers, and supporting staff competing or performing indoors.
The regulation also specifies that all businesses open to the public and operating indoors must require all employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a medical-grade mask or cloth face covering while engaged in face-to-face interaction with the public.
Additional specifications include:
- Spaces of public accommodation include business, educational, refreshment, entertainment, or recreation facility; or an institution of any kind offering goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to the public, whether licensed or not.
- Cloth face coverings should fully cover a person’s nose and mouth.
- Medical-grade masks include N95, KN95, surgical, or other mask appropriate for a health care setting providing direct patient care.
- Violations of the order will result in the issuance of warnings, administrative citations to city-licensed businesses, and/or be considered a misdemeanor offense.
Similarly, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter III issued an emergency declaration. This declaration is effective January 6 and states that:
- All individuals at city-controlled property are required to wear a mask, while indoors, at all times when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not maintained.
- Businesses licensed in the city of St. Paul must require anyone working or patronizing them to wear a mask at all times when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not maintained, except for the temporary removal of face coverings while eating or drinking.
- Businesses are strongly encouraged to require all individuals to wear face coverings, at all times, while inside company buildings.
Individuals failing to comply with the declaration while on city-controlled property will be asked to leave. Individuals failing to comply may be charged with trespassing and may be subject to criminal penalties. Any business found in violation may face adverse licensing action and other penalties under Chapter 310 of the St. Paul Legislative Code.
The St. Paul declaration also noted that the rapid spread of the virus and its variants has impacted business and the availability of child care, and has resulted in families not being able to pay utility bills or falling behind on mortgage or rent payments, putting them at risk of eviction or foreclosure.
Both cities stated the emergency declarations are being issued in response to the increase in infection, illness, hospitalization, and deaths related to variants of COVID-19. Both declarations will remain in effect until either extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended.