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Duluth declares mask mandate

A city-wide masking requirement will remain in place for 30 days.

Mask signs Duluth
Signs at the Whole Foods Co-Op Hillside location Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Duluth, alert customers of mask requirements at the store.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Mayor Emily Larson announced Thursday afternoon that the city will require people to wear masks when inside public spaces beginning at 5 p.m. Friday. The mask mandate will remain in place for 30 days, after which time it could lapse or be renewed, if deemed necessary.

“I understand that it will bump into the choices that you would like to make and the freedoms that you have, but we are still being implored upon by public health and safety experts who are asking us to do this for them and for us,” Larson said.

Larson pointed to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, as the omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads.

Local health care providers have struggled to keep pace, especially as many of their own staff have been infected by breakthrough cases of the disease.

Dr. Nick Van Deelen, co-president, CEO and chief medical officer at St. Luke's said that 162 staff members are currently out of work due to illness and more than half of those employees tested positive for COVID-19.

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The mask mandate applies to people age 5 and older.

Duluth is the third city in Minnesota to declare a mask mandate. Minneapolis and St. Paul did so last week.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

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