Walz

fitness

Walz to close bars, restaurants, fitness centers for 4 weeks

Gov. Tim Walz has ordered a four-week shutdown of bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and fitness clubs, starting Friday, to slow the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused more than 3,000 deaths in Minnesota and threatens to overwhelm hospital capacity.

The governor on Wednesday also ordered a pause on amateur sports and limited social gatherings to individual households — down from a cap imposed last week of 10 people from three households.

While Minnesotans are weary of the pandemic, and endured a broader 51-day state shutdown last spring, Walz said this latest order could keep more Minnesotans healthy and more hospital beds available until a vaccine becomes available.

“I know that hospitalizations are going to continue to go up for the next few weeks and I know that the death numbers will continue to go up for the next few weeks,” Walz said. “But the bright spot of this is, the moves we take now will start to bend that at just the time when the potential for a vaccine is coming. That’s what’s different, Minnesota, this time.”

Walz attempted a targeted response last week by restricting the sizes of wedding and funeral receptions and ordering bars and restaurants to close everything but takeout service by 10 p.m. The goal was to focus on group gathering locations where large outbreaks have occurred, but Walz and state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said rapid changes in the pandemic forced broader action.

“Two weeks ago, I thought a 5,000-case day was horrific,” Malcolm said. “Now, that looks like a good day.”

In the eight days since that last order, Minnesota saw roughly 52,000 more lab-confirmed infections and 312 more deaths — bringing the state’s totals to 242,043 infections and 3,010 deaths. The 1,706 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota on Wednesday represented a 31% increase.

Walz’s four-week order also applies to movie theaters, bowling alleys and museums. The Minneapolis Institute of Art and Walker Art Center, which had reopened to limited audiences in mid-July, will close Saturday; Mia said it would open no earlier than Jan. 2.

Retail outlets are unaffected, along with salons, as Walz said state contact tracing has found little evidence that they are responsible for large outbreaks. Religious ceremonies also are unaffected along with weddings and funerals themselves, but celebrations and receptions are subject to the shutdown. And while bars and restaurants will be closed to in-person service, they can still provide takeout, drive-through and delivery service. Only five customers will be allowed inside an establishment at any one time to pick up orders.

Walz and health officials chose four weeks because that reflects two infection cycles with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — given its incubation period of up to 14 days. If people comply, Malcolm said the measures should level off the state infection rate and the positivity rate of diagnostic testing. Right now, 15.3% of tests turn up positive.

Walz said “the data will drive our decision” whether to end the restrictions at four weeks or extend them. Minnesota

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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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©2020 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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fitness

Walz to close bars, restaurants and fitness centers for 4 weeks

Gov. Tim Walz will impose new restrictions on bars, restaurants and fitness centers starting Friday, closing them down to the public for 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.

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

The closures 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.”

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