MN Governor Announces Changes to COVID restrictions

Today, Governor Walz announced reduced COVID-19 restrictions (Executive Order 21-11) for social gatherings, increases to business capacity limits, and increases to large venue capacity limits.

A summary was provided from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic development:

Effective Monday, March 15th, at 12:00pm (Noon): 

To make it easier to safely gather with family, we are doing the following: 

  • Social gatherings: Up to 50 people outdoors or 15 people for indoor gatherings, both without household limits. 
  • Religious services: Remove capacity limits but social distancing required.  

To support small businesses:  

  • Bars and restaurants: Increasing allowable occupancy to 75% indoors, up from 50%, with a limit of 250 people. Outdoor spaces limited to 250 people total with 6 feet of distance required between parties. Bar seating increases to parties of 4. 
  • Salons/barbers: Remove the occupancy limit, but social distancing required. 
  • Gyms/fitness centers/pools: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%. Outdoor classes can increase to 50 people
  • Entertainment venues: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%, both indoors and outdoors, with a limit of 250. 

With the progress we’ve made, we can adjust guidelines for large venues as well. All venues can open at 50% capacity of up to 250 people, and now, venues with capacity over 500 can add additional guests, effective April 1: 

  • Seated outdoor venues can add an additional 25% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 10,000 people.  
  • Non-seated outdoor venues can add an additional 15% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 10,000 people
  • Seated indoor venues can add an additional 15% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 3,000 people. 
  • Non-seated indoor venues can add an additional 10% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 1,500 people. 

Changes to the guidelines on working from home: 

  • Effective April 15, work from home will be strongly recommended for those who can, but not required. All employers should continue to accommodate employees who wish to work from home, and have plans to keep employees safe in the office in a socially-distant manner. 

We’re not out of the woods yet, so of course, here’s what isn’t changing: 

  • Minnesotans should keep wearing masks. We know that masks work.  
  • Continue to socially distance. All of our guidance today requires venues to maintain 6 feet of distance between guests to reduce the spread of the virus.  
  • Our COVID response remains robust. If you need a test, you can get one free at a community testing site. The COVIDAware App will continue to alert you if you have been exposed. 
  • The COVID-19 Connector is the best way to learn more information about when you are eligible and how to find appointments. 

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