May 13 will likely be remembered as The Day the Masks Came Off.
That's the date the Centers for Disease Control issued its "Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People."
The key point in the multipage document is listed first: Fully vaccinated people may resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance."
So, even the big news comes with caveats, leaving room for interpretation and implementation by local governments and businesses.
Soon after the CDC announcement, Gov. Tim Walz lifted the statewide mask mandate. The city of Rochester followed suit the next day.
The same was true of local businesses. Target was quick to take down its "masks required" signage, but Menards is still urging customers to wear masks.
"Vaccinated persons do not need to wear a mask (but we would deeply appreciate it if you would)," reads a message on the Menards web site. "Not vaccinated persons do need to wear a mask (and we deeply appreciate you doing so)."
Under Minnesota's "Safe Learning Plan," teachers and students still have to don masks for in-person education until the end of the school year.
Masks will still be required in most health care settings. Mayo Clinic said it will require all patients and visitors to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing in order to protect patients with weaker immune systems.
"For now, the best thing you can do is be aware of your local conditions, continue to wear masks in facilities that require them, and if you haven't already done so, look into your options for the vaccine," Dr. Jack O'Horo, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert, says on the Mayo website.
So, keep your masks handy, there's a good chance you'll need one if you're out and about. There's no rule against wearing a mask if you want to wear one. And if you're not fully vaccinated, follow the rules and wear your mask when required. Maybe the end of the mask mandate will be enough of a carrot to entice people to get vaccinated and lead to the goal of herd immunity.