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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - A statewide mask mandate covering all Minnesota court facilities was lifted this week.

A new order issued by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea "lifts the requirement of a face covering for every person entering a court facility." The new rule went into effect on Monday.

“The Judicial Branch has relied on data and the guidance from state and federal public health experts to inform how the courts manage our operations during the pandemic,” said Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea. “In light of declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our state, and consistent with updated mask-related guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are lifting the statewide requirement for face coverings in Judicial Branch facilities.”

Under the new order, the Chief Judge for each Judicial District has the authority to continue requiring masks within counties or districts that are currently designated as having a high COVID-19 Community Level under revised CDC guidelines. In announcing the end of the statewide mask requirement, the Minnesota Judicial Branch stressed that "individuals who prefer to wear a face-covering may continue to do so." In addition, masks will be provided by court staff if requested.

(Photo by Spencer Weiner-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Weiner-Pool/Getty Images)
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Masks are still required at the Olmsted County Courthouse and all other Olmsted County Facilities because, even under the revised CDC guidelines, the agency lists the county as among those categorized as having a high COVID-19 community level. There are currently only three counties in the state with that designation. Wabasha County is also on the list along with Polk County in northwestern Minnesota.

CDC
CDC
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Major Milestones From Beginning of COVID-19 Pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota

News and information about the virus were slowly making their way through Minnesota and the Rochester area during late February 2020. Mayo Clinic became aware of the virus in January because of a partnership it had with a Chinese firm. This gave Mayo a head start in developing its own test for the virus which it knew would be needed for its patients.

Scroll through the gallery to see the significant milestones from the first two months of the pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota.