The Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) has announced its support for renewed mask mandates in the Twin Cities.
In a statement released Thursday, the MMA said it “fully supports the decisions by Minneapolis and St. Paul to re-institute mandatory mask use while indoors” and urged “other communities to consider similar actions.”
“Wearing well-fitted masks is a valuable strategy in our ongoing fight to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the highly contagious omicron variant,” the statement reads. “The best defense against COVID-19 and serious complications remains vaccination and boosters. Well-fitted masks, social distancing, washing your hands, staying home when you’re sick, and getting tested if you have symptoms offer additional protection.”
The mandates come as infections from the Omicron variant continue to skyrocket in states across the country, though not without any concomitant spike in deaths.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has also expressed support for the new Twin Cities mandates.
“At this point in time this move makes sense,” he told reporters. “I would expect there would be several other jurisdictions that may follow.”
Despite this show of support, Walz added that he won’t implement a statewide mask mandate “at this time.”
The new mandate took effect in most indoor public spaces at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
“The data is clear. The surging numbers of cases and hospitalizations from the omicron variant demand immediate action to keep our residents healthy while making every effort to allow schools and businesses to remain safe and open,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. “We have to keep our city healthy and moving. Wearing a mask is an obvious next step to do both.”
“Reinstating the masking requirement is an important step in keeping our communities safe amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in Saint Paul,” added St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. “This, alongside our work to ensure Saint Paul residents have the tools and access they need to get vaccinated are paramount to recovering from this pandemic and building toward our future.”