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Update on diocesan COVID-19 protocols

To: Priests and Deacons
From: Very Reverend James B. Bissonette
Regarding: Mask Mandate Adjustments
Date: May 14, 2021

I am writing to you in regard to recent changes in the COVID-19 Mask Mandate.

From the Centers for Disease Control: "Update that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance." (May 13, 2021)

From the Office of MN Governor Walz: "Governor Tim Walz today announced the end of Minnesota's statewide mask requirement, aligning Minnesota with the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on face coverings. Minnesotans who are not fully vaccinated are strongly recommended to wear face coverings indoors." (Announced May 13, 2021; Effective May 14, 2021)

From the City of Duluth Communications Office: "Beginning today, the City will no longer enforce the mask ordinanceā€¦It is also important to remember the CDC's guidance on easing mask wearing is for fully vaccinated people, and that some business sectors and nonprofits are still required to wear masks within their spaces and may require the public to do the same." (May 14, 2021)

As you know, the recently adjusted Diocesan COVID-19 protocols state: "COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged but not required for all who come to worship including priests, deacons, servers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, music ministers and ushers."

Given the above, beginning on May 15/16, 2021, the celebration of the Ascension of our Lord, those who come to worship may choose to wear a mask or may choose not to wear a mask.

Since we do not know who is vaccinated or who is not at our Masses, I ask that you follow the rest of the adjusted protocols (including safe distancing) until May 28, 2021 and July 1, 2021.

Thank you for your continued cooperation with these important matters.