Walz announces vaccine mandate for state employees, House brings back mask mandate

The governor urged other employers "to do the same."

Background: Minnesota Capitol building (Matthew Deery/Flickr). Left: Gov. Tim Walz/Minnesota Governor's Office.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday that all state agency employees will be required to show proof of vaccination before returning to in-person work or submit to weekly testing.

According to Walz’s office, state employees will be required to “attest to their vaccination status” by September 8. Unvaccinated employees will be required to receive a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week “in order to work on-site at all public workplaces around the state.”

President Joe Biden announced a similar mandate for all federal workers late last month.

“Vaccination is the best way to keep employees and the people we serve safe and ensure the Delta variant does not derail our economic recovery,” Walz said in a press release.

“The state is leading by example and working to get our public employees vaccinated to protect themselves, their coworkers, and their communities. With this action, we’re joining businesses and colleges across the state who have taken this important step, and I urge other employers to do the same,” he added.

The state joins Mayo Clinic, Allina Health, M Health Fairview, Sanford Health, and nearly a dozen colleges in issuing a vaccine mandate.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota House has reinstated its mask mandate for all members and staff.

“As in the past, you do not need to wear a mask if you are working by yourself in an office with the door closed,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman said in an email, noting that all spaces “under House control in the Capitol” will require masks.