ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota will start to re-open starting on May 18.
Gov. Tim Walz said Wednesday that the state’s stay-at-home order will expire and will be replaced with an order continuing to encourage residents to stay close to home but allows for gatherings of families and friends of 10 people or less.
Retail stores and other main street businesses can operate at 50 percent occupancy as long as they have social distancing plans.
Walz also announced Wednesday that he is "directing his cabinet to assemble similar guidance on how to safely re-open bars, restaurants, barbershops, and salons beginning June 1. This will coincide with a significant increase in testing, tracing, and isolating the virus in the state."
“Minnesotans, thank you for your continued sacrifices,” Governor Walz said. “You have saved thousands of lives. You successfully pushed out the peak of this virus and bought our state time to get ready to treat those who fall ill. We know there’s no stopping the storm of COVID-19 from hitting Minnesota, but we have made great progress to prepare for it.”
“This is not the time for sudden movements,” Governor Walz continued. “We are not flipping a switch and going back to normal all at once. We are slowly moving a dial and introducing more interaction between people over time. As we take cautious steps forward, it is more important than ever that we protect those most at risk, support workers, and all do our part to slow the spread of the virus.”
Walz said the state’s 6,700 tests Wednesday - a new one-day high - along with building out hospital capacity and increased ventilators and ICU beds is a reason for re-opening.
Minnesota has reported more than 600 deaths related to the virus.
Minnesota’s stay-at-home order went into effect March 27 at 11:59 p.m. and was in place until May 3 at 11:59 p.m. On April 30, Gov. Tim Walz extended the order until May 18. However, many businesses are being allowed to do curbside operations.