Minnesota will begin to remove the final shackles of COVID 19 restrictions as soon as this week, according to information from the Governor’s office released prior to a noon press conference today, May 6.
With nearly 60 percent of Minnesota adults eligible now vaccinated, and the country ready to begin vaccinating teens and pre-teens, Gov. Tim Walz is hoping for a “normal” summer after more than 15 months of restrictions and complete shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As cases recede, more people get vaccinated every day, and vaccines are readily available to all who want it, we can now confidently and safely set out our path back,” the governor said in an emailed statement.
The restrictions will begin to lift as soon as this Friday, May 7, with the 11 p.m. mandatory closing for all bars and restaurants to be lifted. That would be the first time since early 2020 that bars can remain open until their regular 2 a.m. time, if they so choose.
Here’s a look at the preliminary timeline laid out by the state:
- May 7: Removes limits for outdoor dining, events and get-togethers. Masks will still be required at large outdoor venues with more than 500 people. Eliminates the state’s 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants.
- May 28: All remaining capacity and social distancing limits will end, including for indoor events. Masks will still be required indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people.
- By July 1: The statewide mask mandate will end. The mandate will come off once 70 percent of Minnesotans ages 16 and older get at least one dose of vaccine. The current level is about 59 percent. At the current rate of about 15,000 Minnesotans vaccinated per day, the state should reach 70 percent vaccination around June 1, 2021.
Looking ahead, the Governor’s office is working with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education on the 2021-2022 school year, and what the start of school will look like for hundreds of thousands of students across the state.
Discussion will continue to center around masks indoors (since younger students cannot, yet, be vaccinated) and distance learning options available to all learners.