Walz Eases COVID Restrictions

Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday the largest COVID-19 restriction dial-back since the pandemic began, Caroling Cummings reports (1:58) WCCO 4 News At 5 - March 12, 2021

Video Transcript

- Governor Time Walz is ordering the largest easing of COVID restrictions yet.

- Starting Monday, a slew of changes will take effect, impacting restaurants, religious services, and gyms. It comes as more than 20% of Minnesotans have had, at least, one dose of the vaccine, and new cases and hospitalizations keep falling. As Caroline Cummings reports, catching a foul ball at Target Field or hearing your favorite band at First Avenue is now within reach.

TIM WALZ: We are going into a heightened state of readiness.

- Exactly one year ago, Governor Tim Walz declared the pandemic a peacetime emergency in Minnesota. Hundreds of hours of COVID briefings followed with changes that have completely upended how we live and work.

TIM WALZ: I've spoken to you many times, and it's not always been news you wanted to hear. But it's news you needed to hear.

- Now, some good news. Walz says, decreasing hospitalizations, and deaths, and low test positivity, and an uptick in vaccinations with more expected means it's time to turn up the dial and allow more businesses to loosen restrictions.

TIM WALZ: Normalcy is on the horizon.

- Starting Monday, restaurants can up their capacity to 75% with tables still distanced, but an 11:00 PM curfew still remains. Social gatherings indoors increased to 15 people and outdoors with 50 people. Gyms can double operating capacity to 50% with masks, and there will be no limits on capacity at religious services or salons. But social distancing is still required.

TIM WALZ: I said, last year, the last things to come online would be crowded bars and Twin Stadium. Well, those things are coming online, but not 100%.

- Beginning April 1, guidelines for larger events will look like this. Outdoor venues, seated and not seated, up to 10,000 people. For indoor venues seated, that number is smaller at 3,000, and for indoor venues, where people are standing, 1,500.

TIM WALZ: There's a really, really good chance that this can end up really well if we just do a few things right. People need to hear that.

- Caroline Cummings, WCCO 4 News.