Walz announces new COVID-19 restrictions

As cases hit record highs around the state, the governor’s new orders apply mostly to social gatherings and restaurants.

Lydia Morrell

On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced new restrictions on social gatherings and restaurants to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota.

Under the new restrictions, all bars and restaurants must end dine-in service between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., according to the press release from the office of Gov. Walz and Lieutenant Gov. Peggy Flanagan. No more than 150 people will be allowed indoors and an establishment may not host more than 50% total capacity.

The press release notes that research shows bar and restaurant environments become riskier later in the evening.

“These targeted, science-based actions will help get the spread of the virus under control so that we can care for those who fall ill, get our kids in the classroom, keep our businesses open and get back to the activities we love,” Walz said.

The restrictions also apply to other social gatherings, such as receptions.

There will be a 10-person limit for indoor and outdoor gatherings, and all social gatherings will be limited to members of three households or less. For weddings, funerals and similar events, capacity limits will downsize through a phased approach, leading to a 25-person cap. These events must not take place between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

“These focused actions taken by Governor Walz are designed to address some of the hottest of the hot spots we’ve seen and reduce the burden on our health care system and the heroes providing care to all of us,” Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said.

The restrictions are announced as hospitals around the state are stretching their capacity to care for COVID-19 patients, according to the press release. This week, the pandemic has brought on record-setting highs in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.