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

City Council President Lisa Bender says 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 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 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.

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