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Nearly all statewide COVID restrictions lifted

Some local jurisdictions still have mask requirements in place, but for the first time in more than a year, Minnesotans are feeling more freedom.

ST PAUL, Minn. — More than a year after the state of Minnesota shut down as a precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic, as of Friday morning almost all of the statewide restrictions have been lifted. 

Overnight, remaining capacity limits on indoor spaces were lifted.

The mask mandate that covered the state was the final step in Governor Tim Walz's plan to reopen the state, but that was relaxed earlier this month, which was earlier than anticipated, following recommendations from the CDC. 

So what restrictions still remain?  

If you live in a city or town that still requires a face mask in public, or visit a business that still requires a mask, you will have to honor those rules. Most public transportation, like buses and planes, still require patrons to cover their faces. 

People who have chosen not to get a COVID vaccine are encouraged to continue social distancing and to wear a mask both indoors and outdoors.

The Minnesota Department of Health recommends everyone still wear a mask in health care settings, correctional facilities, shelters and businesses, even if you have gotten a vaccine. 

During a news conference about vaccine incentives Thursday, Governor Tim Walz was asked about whether he is confident Minnesota is ready for all restrictions to be lifted. He said "yes."

"There is nothing in the numbers that indicate we're seeing any rise at all. It's continuing to drop. It's following the pattern that we thought it would and that will only get better as the vaccination rates go up," Walz said.

People should continue to wash their hands often with soap and water and quarantine if they've been exposed to COVID. 

While the state recommends postponing or moving large gatherings outdoors, the restrictions on the number of people that can gather together are no longer in place. 

More recommendations from MDH can be found here.

The lifting of restrictions was due in part to the number of Minnesotans getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As of Tuesday, May 25, data from MDH shows that more than 2.8 million in people have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, are more than 2.5 million people are reported to be fully vaccinated. 

Gov. Walz had set a goal of 70% of people statewide getting a vaccine by July, and currently 64% of residents older than 16 have gotten one shot. 

Announced Thursday, Minnesota is offering a range of incentives for people to get their COVID vaccine, including free tickets to the state fair, passes to amusement parks and Visa gift cards. The "Your Shot, Your Summer" program is offering these incentives to the first 100,000 people who get a vaccine between Memorial Day weekend and the end of June. 

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