Some state leaders “would have liked” to subject unvaccinated Minnesotans to stricter coronavirus mandates than their vaccinated neighbors.
Gov. Tim Walz rescinded his mask mandate Friday in accordance with an updated guidance from the CDC, which caused an uproar among some progressives.
At a press conference on the announcement, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm admitted that she “would have liked” to “divide” the vaccinated from the unvaccinated.
“I’ll be completely honest with you, if we thought that it was enforceable to be able to divide people into: those vaccinated have one set of rules and those unvaccinated have another, I definitely would have liked to see that,” she said.
Gov. Walz acknowledged that this would have required the use of “politically-charged” vaccine passports, a policy that the Republican-controlled Senate voted to outlaw Friday.
Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman told MinnPost that she won’t allow representatives whom she knows haven’t been vaccinated to speak on the House floor without a mask.
“If somebody has splashed all over social media that they are not going to get a vaccine and they are not going to wear a mask and they expect to come to the floor and be recognized to speak? I will not recognize them, no,” she said.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said she will “choose to mask indoors and attend activities that require masks” until her “eight-year old is vaccinated.”
The CDC recommends that people keep wearing masks if they are unvaccinated – which includes young Minnesotans under 12. Until my eight-year old is vaccinated, our family will choose to mask indoors and attend activities that require masks. This is how we take care of each other.
— Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (@LtGovFlanagan) May 14, 2021
The mayors of both St. Paul and Minneapolis plan to keep their mask mandates in place for now, breaking with the advice of experts at the CDC.
The updated CDC guidance says that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting.” However, by lifting the mask mandate, no Minnesotan is required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, but local jurisdictions and private businesses can set their own rules.