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Walz extends pause of indoor dining at restaurants, bars; gyms to reopen with restrictions

ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX47) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced he is extending the closure of state’s bars and restaurants for indoor dining services. He also announced a series of changes to other COVID-19 restrictions in the state.

The governor made the announcement in a news release on Wednesday afternoon. The four-week “pause” Walz announced in November was set to expire on Friday.

Walz said the state’s bars, restaurants and breweries will be allowed to open for outdoor service at 50% capacity or up to 100 people. Each table will be limited to four people and the tables must be six feet apart.

He said inside entertainment venues, event spaces and similar establishments will remain closed until Jan. 11.

The governor said the state’s gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity or 100 people maximum. Masks will be required and 12 feet of physical distancing between people.

Walz said youth and adult sports can resume practices on Jan. 4, adding that more guidance will be forthcoming.

Outdoor entertainment venues will be allowed to open at 25% percent capacity, up to 100 people at a time. All must be seated if food and drink are served.

Minnesotans will also be allowed to gather inside with one other household up to 10 people. Outside social gatherings will be allowed to include up to two additional households with a maximum of 15 people beginning Dec. 19.

“We are thankful that so many Minnesotans have taken the right steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said. “We have safe and effective vaccines starting to come into the state, but it will be many months before everyone has a chance to get vaccinated. In the meantime, we need to keep things moving in the right direction by doing those things we know help reduce COVID-19 transmission. That means masking up, keeping socially distant, washing your hands, staying home when sick and getting tested when appropriate.”

Walz also said he updated the Safe Learning Plan so that beginning Jan. 18, “every elementary school across the state may choose to operate in an in-person learning model as long as they are able to implement additional mitigation strategies, which include providing and requiring staff to wear a face shield and mask and offering regular testing.”

“This plan prioritizes the health, well-being, and education of our students, while taking precautions to protect the teachers and staff who care for them, so we can begin to help them make up for lost time,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said. “The best place for our students to learn is in the classroom. For our youngest learners, in-person learning is critical for their health and development in both the short and long term.”

Nicole Valinote

Social Media and Digital Content Manager

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