Minneapolis City Council votes to extend COVID-19 emergency

July 1, 2021 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis City Council members on Thursday voted to extend the city’s COVID-19 emergency, in order to ensure a smooth transition to normal operations.

City Council President Lisa Bender, who requested the extension, said members want to provide a “phased approach” rather than abruptly ending some programs that businesses and others in the community are currently relying on.

The city’s declaration had been set to expire with the state’s at the end of this week. The local emergency declaration allows the city to waive some of its normal procedures with the goal of providing a faster or more effective response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Star Tribune reported.

It will also allow the city, among other things, to continue to permit some restaurants without patios to provide outdoor dining, cap fees on some food delivery orders and waive late fees for some food, taxi, liquor and catering licenses. Those provisions are now set to expire Sept. 30.

The emergency extension comes on a day when Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced that the state has reached the goal set by President Biden and the Centers for Disease Control to vaccinate 70% of the state’s 18-and-older population by July 4.