(The Center Square) – Minneapolis and Saint Paul announced Thursday that customers at public food and drinking establishments no longer need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test.
The end of the emergency regulations follows a downward trend of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, as the current seven-day new case rate is 499 per 100,000 people with positivity rates below the high-risk threshold, the release on Minneapolis’ website said. A joint news release on Saint Paul’s website said past-week Centers for Disease Control data for Ramsey County shows a 57.8% drop in cases and a 37.89% decline in new hospital admissions.
“When the emergency regulation went into effect, the seven-day new case rate exceeded 1,300 cases per 100,000 people and positivity rates were increasing rapidly,” the Minneapolis news release said.
“Key public health metrics are trending in the right direction,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in the release. “That is a welcomed sign for Minneapolis, especially for the small businesses and restaurants that have shouldered the weight of this pandemic. Let’s hold the momentum and bring our city back in full by continuing to follow public health guidance and supporting local businesses.”
Masks still need to be worn in most public places, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone five years old and above receive the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as receives a booster dose when they become eligible. Minnesota’s vaccine locator map shows local vaccine providers.
“We are grateful to be in a different place now than we were when this requirement first took effect,” Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said in the release. “While I encourage residents to continue to get vaccinated, wear masks, and practice social distancing while indoors, the sharp decline in cases and hospitalizations means we can safely lift the vaccine requirement in our city.”
Businesses are allowed to continued vaccine or testing requirements, the release said.
“This is a huge win for our already suffering restaurants,” Saint Paul Republicans-MN GOP tweeted Thursday. “Come out and support your small businesses in Saint Paul and Minneapolis!”
On Wednesday, Sen. Andrew Mathews, R-Princeton, called on Gov. Tim Walz “and the other Democrat leaders” for an end to mask mandates and restrictions and vaccine mandates and passports throughout Minnesota in a video statement.
“It should never have happened to begin with, but Democrat governors around the country right now are waking up and realizing, ‘Republicans were right all along. We are about to get run over this year in the elections, and we’re on the wrong side of history on this,’” Mathews said.