Gov. Tim Walz announced tougher restrictions Wednesday evening to slow the spread of the coronavirus after a surge in COVID-19 cases throughout November.
Minnesota has added nearly 100,000 cases and more than 500 deaths since November began. The new rules begin just before midnight Friday and run until Friday, Dec. 18.
Here’s a closer look at what is — and what is not — changing:
- Social gatherings are not allowed except with members of your immediate household.
- Restaurants and bars can only be open for delivery and takeout. Only five customers can be inside an establishment at any one time.
- Indoor entertainment venues like bowling alleys and bingo halls must close.
- Youth, high school and other organized sports must pause and gyms and recreational centers must close.
- Religious services are strongly recommended to be virtual only. In-person services must follow mask, social distancing and other rules.
- Weddings and funeral services can be held following existing guidelines, but all receptions and gatherings tied to these events must be postponed or canceled.
- Salons and other personal services can operate by appointment only at 50 percent capacity.
- Retail can be open but must follow a COVID-19 plan to slow virus spread.
Walz said he understood the hardship the new restrictions would cause to business owners. He urged Congress to pass another stimulus package to help people impacted by the coronavirus.
“For those of you who are worried financially, I hear you,” he said.
Walz noted the changes were crafted to address how the risk of spreading the coronavirus increases the longer people are gathered together indoors. He pleaded with Minnesotans to wear a mask, social distance, avoid crowds and stay home when sick.
The Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor said people ignoring those rules, often in private settings, have led to increased spread of the coronavirus. More than one-third of new cases are caused by community spread, when someone gets sick without an obvious link to another known case.
“When are people getting this? All the time now. It is everywhere,” Walz said at a news conference announcing the changes.