Officials with the City of Duluth shared in a press release Tuesday afternoon that starting Wednesday (August 4), masks will be required for all staff and members of the public in city facilities.
In the release, Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman noted that all city staff were made aware of the new policy via email earlier in the day on Tuesday. Schuchman went on to explain “This is not a decision that we make lightly, and is a short-term step which we feel is in the best interest of our staff, their families, and the public.”
The mandatory wearing of face coverings in city facilities is for all people, regardless of vaccination status. This continues to follow CDC-issued guidance for areas where "substantial" or "high" transmission of COVID-19 is present.
St. Louis County crossed the threshold into the "substantial" rating over the weekend, with county officials issuing a county-wide recommendation for all people to wear masks in indoor, public spaces on Monday afternoon.
Mayor Larson expressed thoughts about the decision via the city-issued release, sharing the following:
Most of our staff have made the choice to vaccinate and I find it both frustrating and disappointing that we all have to go back to this. That said, as hard as it is to take this step back to preserve worker and public health, we now know how effective masks are and how dangerous the Delta variant is. We need to keep serving the public while
protecting public health and this is one simple, effective and powerful way we can do that.
In addition to masking in public buildings, I strongly encourage people continue to vaccinate. Our kids deserve a decent school year, our businesses need to keep their doors open and our hospitals have to have our support to help them manage capacity and hospitalizations. We all need to do all we can to keep this community going.
The City of Duluth had recently taken steps to open City Council, Board, and Commission meetings in person, beginning August 1. Meetings are scheduled to happen in person, with public comment being accepted before meetings via written comment or in-person at meetings.
Additionally, the release noted that recently-opened fire stations will once again be closed to the public immediately.