The Richfield City Council will begin meeting in person again June 1, the same day that mask requirements will be lifted for those visiting city buildings as COVID-19 vaccinations continue and case counts ebb.

However, the city will still “strongly encourage” masks in municipal facilities, Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez said as she announced the changes during a May 25 council meeting. City staff are still required to don masks.

“The trend continues to be in a positive direction,” City Manager Katie Rodriguez said of Richfield’s COVID-19 status.

Seventy-three percent of Richfield residents 16 and older have had at least one shot of the vaccine, Rodriguez said. “But we’re continuing to see our Black and our Latino population lag behind, so that is concerning,” she added.

The strong encouragement of masks for those visiting city facilities and the mask requirement for staff will continue “until the vaccination rates improve for all of our residents,” Regan Gonzalez said.

During the pandemic, the City Council and the city’s various advisory commissions had been conducting business via videoconferencing as a health and safety precaution. The return to in-person meetings applies to the commissions, too.

For those in the audience at the meetings, distanced seating options will be available, and, in keeping with an option that was available for the virtual meetings, people can still call 612-861-0651 to speak during the City Council’s public comment periods.

Meetings can be viewed on cable channel 16 and are posted on the city’s website the following day.

– Compiled by Andrew Wig

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