Minnesota Governor Tim Walz Friday announced Phase III of the Stay Safe MN plan, including a gradual turn of the dial to allow the re-opening of indoor dining, gyms, and entertainment venues beginning Wednesday, June 10.
Locally, venues such as St. Michael Cinema and Big Al’s Blowling Alley will get to move ahead with re-opening, while restaurants like Main Street Farmer Eatery and Villas Restaurant will be able to allow diners indoors.
Customers and employees will be either strongly recommended or required to wear masks and will be required to adhere to appropriate social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Thank you, Minnesotans, for the sacrifices you’ve made to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Governor Walz said. “Thanks to your dedication, we are now in a position to carefully turn the dial toward reopening society. As we move forward, it is more important than ever that we each do our part as we trust and rely on each other to keep our state safe.”
Limited re-opening of dine-in restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues can begin on Wednesday, June 10. Occupancy rates will be limited based on risk, with an overall occupancy maximum of 250 people.
Additionally, all critical businesses – those that have been open since the March 30 shutdown – are required to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan by June 29, and the Department of Health (MDH), Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), and Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) will publish industry guidance by June 15.
Under Phase III of the Stay Safe MN plan:
- Restaurants can begin offering indoor dining while maintaining social distancing, requiring reservations, and seating no more than 50 percent occupancy.
- Indoor social gatherings can take place with 10 people or less; outdoor social gatherings can take place with 25 people or less.
- Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, and martial arts may open at 25 percent capacity.
- Indoor entertainment venues, such as theaters and concert halls, can open at 25 percent capacity.
- Recreational indoor entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, arcades, and museums may open at 25 percent capacity.
- Personal services, such as salons, tattoo parlors, and barbershops, may increase occupancy rates to 50 percent while requiring reservations.
- Outdoor entertainment venues, such as sporting events, concerts, and theaters may open at 25 percent capacity.
- Places of worship can increase occupancy rates to 50 percent.
Since the start of Minnesota’s COVID-19 peacetime emergency, the State of Minnesota has prepared for a gradual re-opening by working with the health care sector to expand health care capacity and procure ICU beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment.
“This safe, steady reopening cannot happen without the commitment and vigilance of all Minnesotans to protect themselves and each other against COVID-19,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We must continue wearing masks, washing hands, staying six feet apart, and working from home when possible. Those practices bought us time to learn about and prepare for the virus – and they will keep us safe during this next phase of our response.”
On May 13, Governor Walz replaced Minnesota’s Stay Home order with a Stay Safe order as Minnesota continues to safely turn the dial back toward a “new” normal life. The Stay Safe Plan includes metrics that could trigger a dial back based on the rate of testing, new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Governor Walz has stressed the importance of reopening cautiously and strategically.
“As we face the likelihood of many more months of this disease spreading at various levels in our communities, we must find a way to live with it – accepting a certain level of risk while taking steps to prevent a wave of cases overwhelming our health care sector,” said MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “The goal is to find a proper balance of protection in a way that promotes the best interests of our state. That’s the balance we’re seeking here today.”
Restaurants, salons, and barbershops have been able to offer limited service since June 1. Takeout, curbside, and delivery services have been permitted throughout the pandemic in Minnesota.
“We have asked so much of Minnesota businesses over the past few months, and we recognize what a dire situation many have found themselves in,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “Today’s announcement is another important step on our journey to safely reopening our state to make economic growth possible. As more businesses begin to reopen and Minnesotans return to more activities we enjoy, we know the risks of possible COVID-19 transmission also increase. It is more important than ever that all Minnesotans do their part to protect themselves and others, and help our state’s businesses remain open by wearing masks, staying six feet apart, and staying home if you feel sick.”
As the Walz-Flanagan Administration works to cautiously adjust the dials in Minnesota, the Governor has taken steps to ensure workers are being protected as more businesses reopen. The Governor signed an executive order preventing workers from being fired for refusing to work in unsafe conditions. Business must continue to protect their employees while also taking steps to protect their customers. More information on worker protections can be found here.