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Gov. Walz extends peacetime emergency following end of statewide mask mandate

A critical focus of the emergency extension pertains to bolstering Minnesota's vaccination efforts while continuing to combat the spread of COVID-19.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Just as he has put his signature on an end to Minnesota's statewide mask mandate, Governor Tim Walz has also extended his peacetime emergency powers Friday - something he has done monthly throughout the pandemic.

“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,” Walz said in a press release Friday. “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.”

Walz says the peacetime emergency extension will allow his administration to fluidly handle Minnesota's mass vaccination efforts, while also continuing to take action to monitor, contain and combat the spread of COVID -19. 

The administration says the powers will also allow the state to offer pandemic relief to struggling Minnesotans in the form of protections against evictions, protections against wage garnishment, the securing of $40 million per month to the state's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the providing of "economic relief and stability to Minnesotans and small businesses impacted by the pandemic," among other items. 

“The COVID-19 vaccine works," Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said in the release. "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.”

The extensions come as Governor Walz ordered an end to Minnesota's longstanding mask mandate, referring Minnesotans to follow CDC guidelines to inform when Minnesotans should mask up for public safety - which have since eased for fully vaccinated Americans. 

"The CDC announced Thursday that masks are no longer required for fully-vaccinated individuals, either indoors or outside," Walz's office said in the release. "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."

Find more information on how the new mask guidance will affect you, here