Governor Walz Loosens Restrictions on Bars, Restaurants, Entertainment Venues
Minnesota Governor Announces Reopening of Indoor Dining, Other Venues
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced Wednesday that the COVID-19 situation has improved by nearly every metric across the state resulting in the loosening of restrictions meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Starting Monday, Walz will allow bars and restaurants to reopen at 50% capacity, while other venues such as movie theaters and bowling alleys can reopen at 25% capacity.
“The situation in Minnesota is undeniably better than it was last month,” Governor Walz said in a statement released to CCX News. “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.”
The announcement comes as more than 80,000 frontline health care workers and residents of nursing home facilities have received their first dose of the vaccine and COVID-19 cases have declined over the past few weeks. The Minnesota Department of Health reported 2,346 new cases Wednesday and 67 new deaths. Elementary students in public schools can also return to in-person classes starting Jan. 18.
“As we cautiously adjust the dials to help Minnesotans return to important elements of their daily lives, we continue to monitor where we stand,” Walz continued. “Two months ago the pandemic quickly snowballed from manageable to out-of-control. For our students, our small businesses, and public health, we cannot allow that to happen again.”
COVID-19 Restrictions Loosen Starting Jan. 11
Bars & Restaurants
- Indoor dining at bars and restaurants can open at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 150 people.
- Restaurant seating will be limited to no more than six people per table and tables must remain 6 feet from other parties.
- Bar seating is open to parties of two
- Reservations are required
- Establishments must close dine-in service by 10 p.m.
Gyms & Fitness Studios
- 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.
Bowling Alleys, Movie Theaters, Museums and Other Indoor Entertainment
- Indoor events and entertainment, such as 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 were allowed to resume practice Jan. 4 and games can resume Jan. 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 Jan. 4 for some activity and may now open, like gyms, at 25 percent capacity.
Wedding Receptions and Places of Worship
- 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.
Health Experts Warn of Potential Post-Holiday Wave of COVID Cases
As some restrictions loosen, public health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, are warning of the potential for a post-holiday wave of cases. Some states, including California, are seeing the virus surge. There’s also concern about the emergence of a new, more contagious coronavirus variant spreading around the world.
CCX News Director Shannon Slatton contributed to this report