Duluth to require masks for staff, public in city facilities beginning Wednesday

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Beginning Wednesday, August 4, masks will be required for staff and the public in all City of Duluth facilities.

An email was sent out early Tuesday to notify staff of the change.

"We are really pleased that so many of our staff have chosen vaccination, and we want to ensure that their public health is maintained and that of course the public that we come in contact with are as safe and healthy as possible," Mayor Emily Larson said.

She said she is not looking at extending the mandate city-wide.

"I think it’s important for us to take this initial step and allow people a chance to kind of self-mask," she said. "Even when I went out last night, I was in a lot of places and spaces that people were choosing to mask up when it wasn’t required."

In addition to the mask requirement for staff and the public in City facilities, fire stations, which recently reopened to the public will close, effective immediately.

“This is not the news that I wanted to share with our team,” Duluth Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj said. “The overwhelming majority of our Department has chosen to get vaccinated to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. We know that with the Delta Variant, vaccinated people can still catch and spread COVID, so it was in the best interest of our staff, their families, and the public that we take this step."

According to the fire Department, the four remaining Car Seat Safety Clinics will continue as scheduled at this time by appointment only. Those who attend will need to wear a mask.

The City recently had taken steps to open City Council, Boards, and Commission meetings in person, beginning on August 1. According to the city, the meetings will continue in person, with the public comment being accepted before the meeting in writing or person at the meeting.

"I think at this point, what we need to be aware of is what the city needs from us. You know, we provide public safety, water, utiltiies, planning, all sorts of things, and an election," Mayor Larson said. "This is the right decision for now."

The City said they continue to track information from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Minnesota Department of Health, local hospitals, and St. Louis County.