Thursday was a big day in Minnesota in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced the end of Minnesota's statewide mask requirement, which is in alignment with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on face coverings.

While this is encouraging news, COVID-19 cases continue across the state and Minnesotans who are not fully vaccinated are strongly recommended to continue to wear face coverings indoors.

“This great day is possible because vaccines have proven to be effective,” said Governor Walz. “Once you are fully vaccinated you are protected. You can confidently return to the people you love and things that you miss – all without a mask. The message is clear — get vaccinated and let’s put the pandemic behind us once and for all.”

The Centers for Disease Control announced Thursday that masks are no longer required for fully-vaccinated individuals, either indoors or outside. Minnesotans are encouraged to follow CDC guidance and wear masks in medical settings and on public transportation, whether or not they are fully vaccinated.

Also, private businesses and local municipalities may still put in place face covering requirements and Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan, along with the existing face covering guidance for schools and child care settings, remain in effect.

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Remember that anyone is fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of vaccine – either the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If you have yet to get vaccinated, and are looking to do so, there are plenty of ways to get the process started quickly.  All Minnesotans can find vaccine appointments near them at mn.gov/vaccine.

A quick call to your medical provider, or even a local pharmacy will likely do the trick as well.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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