Minnesota Governor Orders Restaurants, Bars to Halt In-Person Dining for 4 Weeks

Minnesota Governor Orders Restaurants, Bars to Halt In-Person Dining for 4 Weeks
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz in St Paul, Minnesota, on June 3, 2020. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has ordered all restaurants and bars to stop in-person dining, and fitness, entertainment, and youth sports venues to close for four weeks.

The “Dial Back, Minnesota” pause starts Nov. 20 and will last through Dec. 18. It comes as the state saw 67 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, the most since the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic began, according to the state’s health department.
The pause affects in-person dining at restaurants; all gyms, fitness studios, yoga, martial arts, and dance studios; wedding receptions, celebrations, and private parties; indoor entertainment venues; organized sports, and public pools and recreational centers, according to the Minnesota Health Department.

Areas that can remain open include any take-out and delivery services for food and drinks; grocery and retail stores; places of Worship, religious services, weddings, and funerals; beauty salons and personal care services; outdoor recreational activities (limited to one household); and schools and day care.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve followed the data on who, when, and where the virus is spreading,” Walz said in a statement on Twitter. “Now, that data is moving rapidly and so must we. As cases skyrocket, the ‘who’ is all of us. The ‘when’ is all the time. And the ‘where’ is what we’re focusing on today.”

“Today, we are asking Minnesotans to hit pause on social activities, in-person dining, sports, and gyms—where we are seeing the largest rates of transmission—for four weeks. This virus is like a wildfire—wherever there is wood to burn, it will burn,” he added.

Minnesota surpassed 3,000 COVID-19 total deaths on Wednesday, Walz said. Hospital capacity is “being pushed to the brink, leaving hospitals worried about being able to treat all those who fall ill,” he added.

The governor acknowledged that the situation surrounding the restrictions is “incredibly hard on so many people,” and said that he as asked the federal government to act immediately to help businesses and families stay afloat. He said that Minnesotans can also visit the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program website for support from the state.

“This is a time to look out for one another. Shop local, get carry out, and buy online gift cards locally. And in the long term, I hope and believe this step will save lives. It will benefit Minnesotans, our schools, and our economy. Brighter days are ahead,” he wrote.

Many businesses will again have to adjust their operations to “to-go” or virtual means, according to the state’s website. It adds, “We hope these temporary changes will reduce the number of infections while safely supporting our schools, hospitals, and economy.”
Walz on Nov. 13 extended the COVID-19 peacetime emergency amid case increases across the Midwest. Under the emergency, Minnesotans would be required to follow the public health advice from the state’s public health officials, including wearing masks. They would also be protected against evictions and wage garnishment, and individuals and small businesses would be able to receive some economic relief from the state. The order also means the state will continue to procure personal protective equipment and other equipment.
The latest restrictions follow similar restrictions from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer earlier this week.
New York City on Wednesday announced it would close its schools again.