Minneapolis, St. Paul Restore Mask Mandates As Virus Spreads

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s two largest cities moved Wednesday to reimpose mask requirements in businesses and public places as the omicron variant of coronavirus spreads rapidly.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said the requirement would take effect in both cities at 5 p.m. Thursday. Frey said it’s essential to keep the city healthy and moving, and wearing a mask is an obvious thing to do.

Minnesota reported 4,149 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday statewide, with 71 deaths. More than 10,600 people have died of the virus since the pandemic began.

On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced plans to open three more COVID-19 community testing sites as the omicron variant stresses the state’s testing capacity.