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Duluth to stop enforcing citywide mask mandate Friday

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DULUTH, MN -- Duluth leaders plan to stop enforcing the city's local mask requirements starting Friday.

Their announcement comes on the same day Minnesota Governor Tim Walz plans to repeal the statewide mask mandate and Thursday's guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in most indoor and outdoor settings.

RELATED: Twin Ports mayors to make changes after new mask guidelines announced

Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman said it's important to remember masks should still be worn in some settings.

“It is also important to remember that the CDC’s guidance on easing mask-wearing is for fully vaccinated people and that some business sectors and nonprofits are still required to wear masks within their spaces and may require the public to do the same,” Schuchman said.

City Councilor Arik Forsman said individual businesses will be able to create their own mask policies.

“We ask for the public’s help in continuing to abide by those requirements out of respect for those who work and receive services from within these venues,” Forsman said.

While city leaders will stop enforcing the mandate Friday, an ordinance officially repealing Duluth's mask mandate will be presented at the City Council meeting on May 24.

The ordinance, which generally requires two meetings for a decision to be made, could be formally repealed as an emergency, which was how it passed initially in one meeting.

Duluth joined Winona, Rochester, Mankato, Edina, and Minnetonka in being one of the first cities in the state to issue mask mandates.

Mayor Emily Larson says this decision means Duluthians are emerging from the pandemic and ready to embrace a return to community life.

“With the change in seasons and many people reuniting with family and friends again, we are ready and eager to fully recover from the impacts that COVID has left on our communities and across the world.”

The state-wide mask mandate was implemented on July 22.

The City will keep the Emergency Peacetime Order in place due to the pandemic continuing.

City leaders still encourage getting the vaccine.

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Molly Wasche

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