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City of Duluth announces mask mandate as region slammed by omicron

The mask mandate starts Friday at 5 p.m. and applies to all indoor, public spaces in the city. It is set to expire in February.

DULUTH, Minn. — A new mandate in Duluth will impact all indoor public spaces within city limits, according to Mayor Emily Larson.

Mayor Larson made the announcement Thursday, with the new rules going into effect Friday, Jan. 14 at 5 p.m.

In a proclamation, Larson added that ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases poses a "risk to and may cause catastrophic damage to public health, safety, and welfare is not immediately addressed."

The mask mandate applies to places that are considered a "space of public accommodation," meaning restaurants, retail locations, city buildings, public schools and public transportation.

Children under 5 years old do not need to wear a face covering, according to the proclamation.

Businesses in Duluth also need to post signage saying face coverings are required as part of the new order.

The proclamation specifies that if you are eating or drinking, you do not have to wear a face covering. You do have to wear one while walking to and from that eating location, however.

“The City has spent the last two days rewriting this proclamation and declaration,” said Mayor Larson in a released statement. “I have spent time on the phone talking with Governor Walz and other state leaders to discuss our options and the state of COVID-19. Actions take time. This decision was the outcome of due diligence, and in the interest of keeping the public safe.”

First responders, including police and firefighters, do not have to wear a face covering unless they engaged in a public safety matter. 

In terms of enforcement, the mayor said businesses and individuals who do not comply with the mandate will face a warning, followed by a fine and possible criminal prosecution if the offense is repeated.

Duluth and St. Louis County, much like the entire state of Minnesota, have been inundated with strained hospital systems while COVID cases spike. 

The mask mandate in Duluth will last until Feb. 12, 2022 at 5 p.m.

WATCH: Duluth Police Department starts 'emergency schedule' after dozens of COVID cases:

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