ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says, following the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesotans who are fully vaccinated for the coronavirus no longer need to wear a mask.

Walz says he'll sign the executive orders on Friday morning to fully remove the statewide mask mandate.

Minnesotans who are not fully vaccinated are strongly recommended to wear face coverings indoors.

Just last week Walz announced a three-step approach to easing COVID-19 restrictions with the last step the removal of the mask mandate, which was supposed to happen on July 1st or when 70 percent of the state's population age 16 and older had at least one dose of the vaccine, whichever came first.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says she has mixed feelings about the news.  She says it is important for people to understand that people who are not vaccinated are still at risk.  She says 61 percent of the state's population having been vaccinated is not nearly enough to keep the virus from spreading.

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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

The new guidance announced Thursday is a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life.

The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces and schools.

Get our free mobile app

The 25 Best Places to Live in Minnesota

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Minnesota using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

More From Mix 94.9