Walz to temporarily close bars, restaurants and fitness centers as COVID-19 cases surge

Gov. Tim Walz will impose new restrictions on bars, restaurants and fitness centers starting Friday, closing them down to the public four weeks as COVID-19 cases surge across the state.

Bars and restaurants will still be allowed to offer takeout services during that time, according to a source with knowledge of the restrictions. The new restrictions will also include a temporary pause on youth sports activities.

Walz will deliver an address to Minnesotans at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the latest steps in his response to COVID-19.

The restrictions come days after the governor implemented a 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants and put restrictions on bar seating and games.

But Minnesota health officials have warned the state is heading to a dangerous phase of the pandemic. On Tuesday, the state reported 26 new COVID-19 deaths and 5,945 new coronavirus infections, with 1,669 people with COVID-19 occupying inpatients beds in Minnesota and 346 needing intensive care — a record number of hospitalizations.

Republicans in the Legislature are asking Walz to announce the new restrictions immediately to help restaurants and bars plan for the changes.

“Minnesotans recognize how grave the situation is with COVID-19 spreading uncontrolled throughout the state,” said Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar. “We’re ready to do our part for our health care workers, no matter how difficult the coming weeks will be, and prevent a capacity crisis for our hospitals and health care facilities. But we need to do this together with transparency.”

Briana Bierschbach • 612-673-4689


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Northford Ice Pavilion Temporarily Closes Due To Coronavirus

NORTH BRANFORD, CT — The Northford Ice Pavilion has made the decision, on the recommendation of the East Shore District Health Department (ESDHD), to temporary close its facility for a week, in light of a significant increase in COVID-19 cases among players, coaches and their family members associated to the sport of ice hockey locally and throughout Connecticut, officials announced Sunday.

The local public health department reports that cases of Covid-19 connected to ice hockey have been happening sporadically in the last eight weeks and there was a sudden increase over the past few weeks with over 20 positive cases related to ice hockey.

In addition, as recommended by the CDC and State Public Health Department, there are a number of persons in quarantine. Michael Pascucilla, the Director of Health and health department staff met virtually with the operators of the rink on Friday and it was mutually agreed that the facility should temporarily pause all ice hockey activities.

Pascucilla “expressed his sincere thanks to the Northford Ice Pavilion operators for their proactive leadership in protecting the ice hockey sporting community and the local residents of North Branford and the surrounding towns.”

Rink Manager, Bill Maniscalco stated “that it’s important that the Northford Ice Pavilion do its part to keep the skating community and staff protected with the increase of cases. The reopening of the ice rinks will be revisited as cases subside. Hopefully we can return to normal soon, but in the meantime, we ask that people remain safe and vigilant”.

It should also be noted these sport precautional measures are being implemented in other states, most recently in the States of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

ESDHD wants to inform all residents that our local COVID-19 infection rates have significantly increased, and we want to reminder everyone to be diligent in taking the everyday preventative actions to help protect themselves, their families and our community, these include:

  • Staying home if you are sick except to get medical care.

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

  • Washing your hands with soap and water frequently and for at least 20 seconds.

  • Wearing a face mask or covering when around others.

  • Keeping a social distance of 6 feet or more from others.

  • If you do become ill, immediately call your doctor.

  • Avoid large gatherings and social events

For the most current updates and recommendations, visit ct.gov/coronavirus. For general questions, please call 2-1-1.

Symptoms of COVID-19. include fever, uncontrolled new cough, difficulty breathing and loss of taste or smell. Other symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. For more information, resources, hotlines, testing, and how you can support local businesses while practicing social distancing, please visit: http://www.esdhd.org/coronavirus.

This article originally appeared on the North Branford Patch

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