From the County Manager Column from June 3, 2021

Proposal to remove requirement for face coverings to go before board on June 8

Late in the day Tuesday, Mayor Carter took action to lift the mask mandate in Saint Paul. This followed a similar move by Minneapolis Mayor Frey earlier in the day.

In consult with Chair Carter, commissioners, Public Health and other county leaders, we will be introducing a proposal at next Tuesday’s board meeting (June 8) to revise the current face covering policy at Ramsey County facilities.

If approved, the policy would immediately make face coverings optional for both staff working at most county facilities and for our visitors. The policy will also substitute the face coverings requirement with recommended guidance for those people who are not vaccinated to continue to wear a mask to protect themselves and others as best as possible. Face coverings will still be required in certain facilities for both employees and residents to comply with specific federal requirements that remain in effect. Complete details will be posted with the board agenda to our web site this afternoon.

As I wrote on Tuesday, we can feel very good about our efforts and progress in vaccinating our residents. Beginning this week, we kicked off a major investment to turbocharge education and engagement with those areas of the county where vaccinations rates are trailing others. We continue making steady progress, and on the current trajectory we expect to either surpass or be very close to hitting the target rates in all zip codes by June 8.

Following the news from Saint Paul, staff from across the organization can expect to receive new questions about face coverings in our facilities. The short response to these questions is that we are adapting to the news from Minneapolis and Saint Paul as quickly as possible and taking the practical and necessary steps to lift the face covering mandate in our facilities early next week. Until our county board takes action, however, the current face covering policy remains in full effect for staff and visitors to Ramsey County sites.