Walz announces new COVID-19 restrictions starting Friday

Gov. Tim Walz announced tighter COVID-19 restrictions that will begin statewide on Nov. 20 on Wednesday.

A+cloth+mask+and+bouquet+of+flowers+are+seen+on+the+Goldy+statue+outside+Coffman+Memorial+Union+on+Wednesday%2C+April+1.+%28Parker+Johnson+%2F+Minnesota+Daily%29

Parker Johnson

A cloth mask and bouquet of flowers are seen on the Goldy statue outside Coffman Memorial Union on Wednesday, April 1. (Parker Johnson / Minnesota Daily)

Ava Thompson

On Wednesday Gov. Tim Walz announced a four-week plan to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Beginning Nov. 20 at 11:59 p.m. and extending to Dec. 18, bars and restaurants must end dine-in services and move to take-out or delivery only; facilities like gyms, fitness studios, entertainment venues, event spaces and similar establishments will be required to close.

Additionally, sports activities — for adults and children — will be put on pause, and social gatherings will be limited exclusively to members within a household. This is down from last week’s restriction of 10 people from three households or less.

Places of worship, wedding ceremonies and retail stores will continue to operate per safety guidelines and under limited capacity.

States across the midwest are experiencing a large uptick in COVID-19 cases, with Minnesota surpassing 240,000 cases.

“Today marks a somber milestone in the pandemic as we surpass 3,000 Minnesotans lost to COVID-19,” Walz said in a statement. “This immense loss strikes at the heart of our state. We are at a breaking point.”

More than 1,000 Minnesota physicians and providers wrote a letter that reiterated the concerns on the rising positive cases, and emphasized the strain hospital staffers are experiencing.

“The growth is so rapid that health care systems are pushed to the brink.” the letter read. “Daily, there is a scramble to find ICU beds and staff, non-emergent surgeries are delayed, emergency rooms are overwhelmed, and the transfer of patients in need of life-saving care between hospitals is increasingly challenging.”

The announcement comes as the state’s death total from the COVID-19 pandemic surpassed 3,000, with a national death toll of more than 250,000.