Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has announced the state is loosening some restrictions due to COVID-19, including bars and restaurants will be able to open at 50 percent capacity or up to 150 people.
“The situation in Minnesota is undeniably better than it was last month,” Governor Walz said. “We have reasons to be optimistic, and Minnesotans’ sacrifice and commitment to their communities helped change the pandemic’s trajectory and saved lives. But we need to protect the progress we’ve made.”
Gov. Walz will speak at 2 p.m., and you an watch it live here.
The following announcements were made Wednesday morning:
- Indoor dining at bars and restaurants can open at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 150 people. Parties of no more than six people must remain six feet from other parties; bar seating is open to parties of two; reservations are required; and establishments must close dine-in service by 10 p.m.
- Gym capacity remains capped at 25 percent but maximum capacity increases to 150 and classes can increase to 25 people, assuming distancing can be observed. Machines and people must maintain 9 feet of distance. Face coverings are required.
- Outdoor events and entertainment continue at 25 percent capacity, but maximum capacity increases to 250 people. Social distancing is required.
- Indoor events and entertainment – like bowling alleys, movie theaters, and museums – may open at 25 percent, with no more than 150 people in each area of the venue. Face coverings are required, and they may not offer food service after 10 p.m.
- Youth and adult organized sports have resumed practice as of January 4 and games resume January 14 with spectators, following the appropriate capacity limits for indoor or outdoor venues. Inter-region tournaments and out of state play are discouraged.
- Pools opened on January 4 for some activity and may now open, like gyms, at 25 percent capacity.
- Wedding receptions and other private parties may resume with limits. If food and drink are served at the event, then they are limited to two households or 10 people indoors and 3 households or 15 people outdoors. If there is no food or drink, they are covered by event venue guidelines. Any related ceremony – like a wedding or funeral ceremony – is guided by rules for ceremonies and places of worship.
- Places of worship remain open at 50% capacity but without an overall maximum capacity
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan released the following statement on the changes:
“Over the past year hundreds of small businesses across our state have been shuttered, thousands have died and all Minnesotans have lived under the rule of one man: Governor Tim Walz."
“Today, the Governor’s announcement to reopen Minnesota partially is just more of the same of his haphazard, back and forth approach."
“Governor Walz is completely out of touch with the challenges we face to support our families and live our lives. A resignation before causing more harm is certainly in order.”
A statement from Liz Rammer, CEO, Hospitality Minnesota regarding Governor Walz announcement on reopening Wednesday:
"It is great news that restaurants, foodservice and other hospitality-related businesses are being allowed to get back to do what they do best. Reopening will bring in much-needed revenue at a desperate time for these businesses. We know that operators committed to following the protocols will keep their guests and workers safe and the data supports this. For an industry that provides 300,000 jobs in Minnesota and is integral to every community in the state, the road to recovery is going to be long and we’re very glad to get started."