Minnesota Executive Council also approves end to statewide mask mandate following new CDC Guidance
5/14/2021 12:19:38 PM
[ST. PAUL, MN] – As Minnesota ramps up vaccination distribution and monitors new variants of COVID-19, Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 21-22 to extend the peacetime emergency in Minnesota. The peacetime emergency is critical to the state’s testing program as well as the efficient and equitable distribution of vaccine. As of today, the federal government and 45 states remain in a state of emergency. Governor Walz also singed Executive Order 21-23 ending Minnesota’s statewide mask requirement, aligning Minnesota with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on face coverings.
“As we stand on the cusp of putting this pandemic behind us, Minnesotans have a lot to be proud of. Just this week, President Biden recognized Minnesota for our nation-leading vaccination effort and response to COVID-19,” said Governor Walz. “From churches, to baseball games, to pop-up clinics, to metro transit buses that bring the vaccine to your doorstep, we’re making it as easy as possible for Minnesotans to get the life-saving vaccine. We’re meeting Minnesotans where they are, and the peacetime emergency is essential to that work.”
Minnesota’s peacetime emergency gives the state the tools necessary to quickly establish, staff, and operate additional state vaccination sites and acquire supplies and technology to support the vaccine effort. It also supports the expansion Minnesota’s testing capacity; protects Minnesotans against evictions and wage garnishment; provides expedited procurement power for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment; allows Minnesota to follow the advice of public health experts in combatting the spread of COVID-19; protects workers from unsafe worker conditions; secures over $40 million per month in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for Minnesotans who need help buying groceries; and provides economic relief and stability to Minnesotans and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
“ The COVID-19 vaccine works. And as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to more Minnesotans, we are doubling down on our efforts to ensure that every Minnesotan who wants a vaccine can get one,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “ The peacetime emergency gives us the tools we need to protect Minnesotans against evictions, keep a close eye on the spread of variants, protect the gains we’ve made, operate walk-up testing sites, and distribute the vaccine quickly and equitably.”
The CDC announced Thursday that masks are no longer required for fully-vaccinated individuals, either indoors or outside. Minnesotans should follow CDC guidance and wear masks in medical settings and on public transportation, whether or not they are fully vaccinated. Private businesses and local municipalities may still put in place face covering requirements. And Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan, along with the existing face covering guidance for schools and child care settings, remain in effect.
Governor Walz is committed to working collaboratively with the Minnesota Legislature to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and to ensure an orderly end of the peacetime emergency when it is no longer needed. With a light now at the end of the tunnel, Governor Walz has encouraged the Legislature to begin the work of enacting into law the core provisions of the emergency response that have been keeping Minnesotans safe. The laws will be needed to facilitate the wind-down of the peacetime emergency and related emergency executive orders.
Executive Orders 21-22 and 21-23 have been unanimously approved by the Executive Council, which is made up of Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Ellison, Secretary of State Simon, and State Auditor Blaha.