St. Paul City Council member ‘disheartened’ by end of mask mandate

Mayor Melvin Carter lifted St. Paul’s mask mandate Wednesday shortly after Minneapolis did the same.

Background: St. Paul City Council Chambers (City of St. Paul/YouTube). Left: Council Member Nelsie Yang (City of St. Paul/Website).

A St. Paul City Council member said she was “disheartened” after the city’s mask mandate was lifted and pleaded with her constituents to continue to mask up.

“I’m disheartened that the mandate has been lifted when so many of our community members have yet to be vaccinated. Were City Councilmembers included in this decision? No. I found out about the news from an MPR reporter asking for my opinion after the fact,” Council Member Nelsie Yang said in a newsletter last week.

Mayor Melvin Carter lifted St. Paul’s mask mandate Wednesday shortly after Minneapolis did the same. Gov. Tim Walz suspended the statewide mandate May 14 in accordance with CDC guidance, but the Twin Cities bucked the expert advice and kept their mandates in place for nearly three additional weeks.

According to Yang, that wasn’t enough. One zip code in her ward has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the city, she explained.

“As councilmember for Ward 6, I URGE YOU to continue wearing facemasks in our City,” she said, posting similar comments on Facebook.

“There are still many vulnerable elders, youth, and adults in our community who can still spread the virus and face hospitalization or death from COVID-19. Please continue to wear your mask, especially when indoors,” she added.

The efficacy of masks was cast into doubt last month when a study found that “mask mandates and use are not associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 spread among U.S. states.” Additionally, Dr. Anthony Fauci was recently exposed for rejecting the widespread use of masks during the early days of the pandemic.

“Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection,” Fauci wrote in an email. “The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material.”