While the United State Capitol descended into turmoil, the State of Minnesota seems to have emerged from its latest COVID-forced shutdown, as Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday, Jan. 6 that he would ease restrictions on dining establishments, bars, entertainment venues, and even sporting events.
“Minnesota, we’ve asked a lot of you, and you have delivered,” Walz said. “Once again, you’ve done the right things, and we are seeing the results.”
“Today,” Walz continued, “COVID-19 is spreading more slowly across Minnesota than two months ago. Recognizing our progress – but understanding we need to remain cautious –we are adjusting the dials and opening more activities and sectors of the economy.
Starting at midnight on Monday, January 11:
- 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.
Walz also addressed vaccinations. He said vaccine distribution will always “be too slow,” but the “game is changing every single day.” Nearly 100,000 vaccinations have been distributed statewide, with more coming from the Federal government, Walz concluded.
The adjustment wasn’t great news for everyone. St. Michael Cinema said 25 percent is still too low to meet its revenue projections, and doesn’t anticipate opening in January.