The march toward a sense of normalcy continues after COVID-19 restrictions went into effect over a year ago across the country. Minnesota's three-phase plan to eliminate restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 hit a major milestone overnight as Phase 2 went into effect.

Phase 2 of Governor Walz's timeline to phase out COVID-19 restrictions is particularly impactful for businesses, as remaining capacity and distancing limits for both indoor and outdoor venues come to an end starting Friday, May 28. The remaining stipulation in the original details of Phase 2 is that masks/face coverings are still required at outdoor events and gatherings with over 500 people.

After Walz announced the three-phase plan back on May 6, there has been a significant change that impacts the final parts of the return to normalcy - particularly regarding masks.

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Following CDC guidance about fully-vaccinated people regarding the need for masks, Governor Walz eliminated the statewide mask mandate, but left it up to local city/county governments and businesses to make local mask policy decisions. Initially, Walz's plan was to remove the mask mandate either by the time 70% of eligible Minnesotans were vaccinated or by July 1, whichever came first.

That stipulation obviously changed when the CDC made their announcement earlier this month to allow for fully-vaccinated people to no longer need to wear masks unless required by a local government or by a business.

So, while almost all of Minnesota's COVID-19 related restrictions are now lifted, the governor and health officials still recommend unvaccinated people wear masks in public until they are fully vaccinated. They also remind the public that there are some local municipalities and businesses that are still maintaining mask mandates that are still valid and people should be aware of local or business rules on the subject.

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