Walz Announces New COVID-19 Restrictions on Bars, Restaurants, Gatherings
Governor Walz has mandated new restrictions on bars and restaurants, along with social gatherings, as he aims to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Minnesota has seen record highs in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths recently, and Walz warned that Minnesota is approaching the worst phase of the pandemic and that conditions will get dramatically worse unless people start changing their behavior. The new restrictions are targeted to young adults aged 18-35, who are often asymptomatic carriers of the virus and are among the primary spreaders in the state.
Starting Friday, Nov. 13, no bars or restaurants can be open for dine in after 10 PM, but they can reopen after 4 AM. No dining establishment may exceed 50% capacity nor 150 persons at a time no matter if their maximum capacity is north of 300. Unless the bar only has counter service, all other counter service from bars will be closed for seating and service in all establishments. In-counter service patrons will have to mask-up while waiting in line and while they are standing, and may only remove the mask while at their table.
Under the new restrictions, restaurants and bars will still be allowed to offer takeout and delivery service after 10 PM, but the new rules will ban sitting at the bar and activities that involve standing – such as pool, darts, and dancing – because they encourage patrons to gather closely together.
As for the social gathering restrictions, also starting on Friday, Nov. 13, there will be a 10-person limit on indoor and outdoor gatherings. Many social gatherings are limited to just the members of the household. Capacities on weddings, funerals, and similar events have been changed as well, with a cap of 50 people as of Nov. 27 that will be limited to 25 people as of Dec. 11, and which cannot continue past 10 PM. This will allow for a phase-in period as many events have already be planned.
The state is also recommending that indoor gatherings be limited to three households, which would affect big family Thanksgiving dinners.