City of Duluth to Require Masks in Public City Buildings, Fire Stations Close to Public
While the city plans to keep its buildings open to everyone, Duluth Fire stations are the exception. They are now closed to the public again, just days after reopening.
DULUTH, Minn.- The City Of Duluth is bringing back its mask mandate for all city employees and the public inside all city-owned buildings — regardless of a person’s vaccination status.
“Personally it is frustrating to be at this point,” Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said. “I know that many of us would like this to be over.”
“Last week I didn’t think that we would be looking at masks as early as Tuesday of this week,” she said.
Mayor Larson made the announcement Tuesday to mask up in all city buildings starting Wednesday. This comes after City Hall and many other municipal buildings just reopened to the public last Sunday.
Boards and Commissions and City Council meetings will resume in person with masks.
Larson says in-person voting will also remain available for next week’s Primary Election.
“We do not want to close buildings, we don’t want to shut down services. And so we really feel strongly that masking is one single and affordable and convenient way to do this,” said the Mayor.
“At this point we are not having discussions about mandating a vaccine, we’re not having discussions about incentivizing vaccines, we’re not having discussions about a city wide mask mandate,” she said.
While the city plans to keep its buildings open to everyone, Duluth Fire stations are the exception. They are now closed to the public again, just after reopening.
Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj said it’s unfortunate to cancel many of the tours already scheduled, but his staff is seeing firsthand how the virus is spreading.
“One of the things that we saw early in the pandemic were fire departments that were hit hard with COVID spread and it went throughout their shifts, said Chief Krizaj. “And so they actually had to decrease service, close stations or definitely decrease their response — we don’t want that to happen here.”
“As we’ve seen this variant, the delta variant kind of spread throughout our community in certain areas we’ve had a bit of an uptick,” he said.
Meanwhile, masks are only *recommended* in St. Louis County buildings — with one exception.
A separate mandate requires masks to be worn in courtrooms, and the nearby hallways and public spaces.