As the spread of COVID-19 skyrockets across the state and hospitals voice concern about the ability to treat those who fall ill, Gov. Tim Walz today announced new actions to help control the spread of the virus. Turning the dial back, Walz announced a four-week pause on social activities, in-person dining, sports, and fitness establishments.
The scientific research and public health data indicate that the virus is spread most in places where people gather for long periods of time, especially when masks are not consistently worn. For instance, a quick stop at a retail store with a mask and social distancing appears to be lower risk than a gathering of friends for dinner where guests are likely to be seated closer together and unmasked while eating or drinking—whether it’s at a restaurant or in their own home.
Beginning 11:59 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 and lasting until Friday, Dec. 18, in-person social gatherings with individuals outside your household are prohibited; bars and restaurants are dialed back to take-out and delivery service only; gyms, fitness studios, entertainment venues, event spaces the, and similar establishments will need to close; and adult and youth sports are paused. Retail businesses, salons, and places of worship may continue to operate with proper precautions in place. Childcare remains open. Schools will continue to operate under the Safe Learning Plan, which shifts between in-person, distance, and hybrid learning depending on the local conditions of the virus. All other current restrictions also remain in effect.
The pandemic has reached a concerning and dangerous phase throughout much of Midwest this November. It took 29 weeks to reach 100,000 infections in Minnesota, and just six weeks after that to reach 200,000. Sometime next week, less than three weeks after reaching 200,000 infections, Minnesota will reach 300,000 infections.
To support small businesses that are struggling as they do their part to combat the spread of COVID-19, last week Walz announced an additional $10 million in Small Business Relief Grants. This funding will support an additional 1,000 businesses that have applied for the grant program. It supplements hundreds of millions of dollars in small business support that Minnesota has allocated since the beginning of the pandemic. With options at the state-level severely limited moving forward, the governor is pushing the federal government for additional support. Minnesotans with questions about unemployment insurance are encouraged to visit uimn.org.