Governor Tim Walz announced this afternoon (Wednesday, January 6) that beginning next week, Minnesota’s restaurants and bars will be allowed to resume indoor service, swimming pools and fitness centers can increase their capacity, and gatherings such as wedding receptions and private parties will be permissible—as long as establishments maintain COVID-19 safety protocols.
This latest easing of rules follows a downward trend of COVID-19 cases and resulting deaths in the state of Minnesota, though certain areas of the country are struggling to handle increasing COVID-19 numbers and much of Europe is in lockdown to try and contain a more contagious variant of the virus.
It was previously announced that beginning January 18, elementary schools in Minnesota may choose to operate an in-person learning model as long as they are able to implement additional mitigation strategies.
A summary of the changes going into effect Monday, January 11:
- Indoor dining at bars and restaurants can open at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 150 people. Parties of no more than six people must remain 6 feet from other parties; bar seating is open to parties of two; reservations are required; and establishments must close dine-in service by 10 p.m.
- Gym and fitness center capacity remains capped at 25 percent but maximum capacity increases to 150 and classes can increase to 25 people, assuming distancing can be observed. Machines and people must maintain 9 feet of distance. Face coverings are required.
- Outdoor events and entertainment continue at 25 percent capacity, but maximum capacity increases to 250 people. Social distancing is required.
- Indoor events and entertainment—such as bowling alleys, movie theaters, and museums—may open at 25 percent, with no more than 150 people in each area of the venue. Face coverings are required, and they may not offer food service after 10 p.m.
- Youth and adult organized sports resumed practice of Jan. 4, and games can resume Jan. 14 with spectators, following the appropriate capacity limits for indoor or outdoor venues. Inter-region tournaments and out-of-state play are discouraged.
- Pools opened Jan. 4 for some activity, and may now open, like gyms, at 25 percent capacity, for all activities.
- Wedding receptions and other private parties may resume with limits. If food and drink are served at the event, then they are limited to two households or 10 people indoors and three households or 15 people outdoors. If there is no food or drink, they are covered by event venue guidelines. Any related ceremony—such as a wedding or funeral ceremony—is guided by rules for ceremonies and places of worship.
- Places of worship remain open at 50 percent capacity but without an overall maximum capacity.
A full listing of the adjusted guidelines can be found on the State’s web page, Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan.