(FOX 9) ̵
The new restrictions take effect on Saturday morning.
The governor said the decision to close some sectors, not others, was based on data from the health ministry and recommendations from scientists.
In a statement, Waltz said the state was at a “breaking point” as hospital beds filled and the number of cases increased across the country.
“While these actions mean incredible hardship for many, they are the fastest way to rebuild our economy, keep our children in school, and get back to the activities we love,” Waltz said.
The changes come as the Minnesota Department of Health reported a record 67 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday and 5,102 new cases. Minnesota has seen a 153 percent increase in coronavirus cases in the past two weeks – the third highest in the country, according to NBC News COVID-19 tracker.
Bars and restaurants
Under the new restrictions, bars and restaurants must be closed for dinner indoors and outdoors for four weeks. However, they will be allowed to offer food for delivery and picking up the curb.
The shutdown comes less than a week after Walz imposed curfews at 10pm on bars and restaurants and limited bars and games.
Gyms and fitness centers
Gyms and fitness centers will also be forced to close to the public for four weeks under the new restrictions.
Sports for youth and high school
Walz will also stop youth and high school sports for the upcoming winter season, as well as for the current fall season.
The governor said on Tuesday that people should expect the high school football season, which started late due to the pandemic, to end before the playoffs are over.
Under new restrictions announced Wednesday by Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz, all social gatherings have been banned as part of a four-week hiatus in response to the rise of COVID-19 cases across the country.
- The collection is limited to members of one household, even if there is social distancing.
- It affects both indoor and outdoor gatherings
- Includes planned or spontaneous events
- Includes private and public gatherings
This is a departure from previous guidelines that set a limit on the amount of gathering of 10 people.
Why don’t shops, salons and barbershops close?
Retail stores, salons and barbershops will not be affected by the latest round of restrictions.
Walz explained last week that health professionals do not see a trend in cases involving this type of facility. However, health officials see a significant number of cases involving late nights in bars and restaurants, as well as large private gatherings.
Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove also recently said that retailers “simply don’t care” about the spread of the virus.
Waltz added that in retail transactions are fast, individual and involve wearing masks at all times.
Is help coming?
The new restrictions sparked immediate reactions from lawmakers and business owners, who said financial relief would be needed to make it happen next month.
As of Wednesday afternoon, no specific aid packages have been announced. At a news conference after Wednesday’s announcement, the governor blamed the federal response to the virus for supporting small businesses and said the legislature, not the executive, was responsible for appropriations.
He said his office would be content with a “reduced” incentive package that “targets small employers and workers”.
DEED Commissioner Steve Grove added that the money is available for relief, but at this point the state will have to borrow from the federal government. “We need Washington to act,” he said.