MINNESOTA – Gov Tim Walz has made no secret lately that he’s turning back his Minnesota dials. News of his latest changes started circulating Tuesday during a press conference showcasing people who have suffered through COVID-19. But he came forward Wednesday evening.
Minnesota will go into its second partial economic shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic beginning at 11:59 p.m. Friday, and Walz said he's hopeful that by the time the four-week lockdown is over there will be Minnesotans receiving a vaccine for the disease that has killed more than 3,000 Minnesotans.
“Beginning Friday, November 20, at 11:59 pm and lasting until Friday, December 18, in-person social gatherings with individuals outside your household are prohibited; bars and restaurants are dialed back to take-out and delivery service only; gyms, fitness studios, entertainment venues, event spaces, and similar establishments will need to close; and adult and youth sports are paused. Retail businesses, salons, and places of worship may continue to operate with proper precautions in place. Childcare remains open. Schools will continue to operate under the Safe Learning Plan, which shifts between in-person, distance, and hybrid learning depending on the local conditions of the virus. All other current restrictions also remain in effect.”
In a release before the conference, Walz said the state is at a "breaking point," as hospital beds fill up and case numbers spike across the state.
The new restrictions halt all in-person restaurant dining — both indoor and outdoor — gyms, wedding receptions/private parties, organized sports — youth and adult — indoor entertainment, public pools/recreation centers and any social gathering with individuals outside of your household.
The restrictions will take effect Friday, Nov. 20 at 11:59 p.m. and last until Friday, Dec. 18.
According to the Walz, retail businesses, salons and places of worship will remain open with proper precautions in place. Childcare will also remain open and schools will continue to operate under the Safe Learning Plan.
Walz said Wednesday that Minnesota is expected to reach 300,000 confirmed cases by next week, marking an increase of 100,000 cases in less than three weeks.
Walz also discussed the shortage of critical care beds across the state. According to health officials, northeast Minnesota, central Minnesota, southeast Minnesota and the metro are all using 90% or more of their critical care beds.