Walz Orders 'Pause' On In-Person Gatherings, Restaurant, Sports

William Bornhoft
·4 min read

TWIN CITIES, MN — Gov. Tim Walz Wednesday announced a "four-week pause" on social activities, in-person dining, sports, and gym usage as a way to combat the latest spike in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Walz's office has ramped up warnings and restrictions related to the virus as cases have "skyrocketed" across the state and the region.

"Today marks a somber milestone in the pandemic as we surpass 3,000 Minnesotans lost to COVID-19," Walz said in a statement.

"This immense loss strikes at the heart of our state. We are at a breaking point. As hospitals near the crisis of turning away new patients, continuing as things are is simply not sustainable. The actions announced today will help prevent more families from losing a loved one and ensure our hospitals can treat those who fall ill. While these actions mean incredible hardship for many, they are the fastest way to recover our economy, keep our kids in school, and get back to the activities we love."

Here's what you need to know about Walz's latest COVID-19 order

Beginning Friday, Nov. 20, at 11:59 p.m. 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, and similar establishments will need to close

  • Adult and youth sports are paused

What remains open

The governor's office said that retail businesses, salons, churches and other 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.

Here's the text from the order:

"I know the upcoming holidays make it incredibly difficult to stay home and stay apart, but this is how we keep the people we love safe and healthy," said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

"Take it from me, no celebration is worth an empty seat that will never be filled. This dial back will help us do everything we can to make sure our tables are full next year."

All other current restrictions also remain in effect, according to a news release.

"Every day brings us closer to having safe and effective vaccines, but we must take action now to slow down the rate at which COVID-19 is spreading in all corners of our state," Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.

"Our health care workers continue to work hard to provide care but we can’t afford to overwhelm them. Every Minnesotan needs to understand that they have a key role to play here. That means staying home and avoiding close contact with those outside your household. It means wearing a mask when you do need to go out in public. It means staying home when you’re not feeling well. It means getting tested when appropriate and isolating until you get the test results."

Republicans criticize plan

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan released the following statement:

Governor Tim Walz’s unilateral decisions to shut down our economy again is disconcerting, especially as we enter the holiday season.

This has already been a difficult year for Minnesota’s small businesses and Governor Walz is not even giving them a fighting chance.

Shutting down youth sports is probably the worst decision Walz has made throughout the pandemic. The data shows that youth sports aren't responsible for the spread of the virus.

Given the mess that public schools are in right now, sports is the only normal thing that a lot of kids have in their lives. This decision will set off a cascade of unintended consequences for an entire generation of Minnesotans.

In a tweet, Carnahan called Walz a "tyrant."

Minnesota Reports Record-Breaking 67 Coronavirus Deaths Wednesday

Minnesota's surge in coronavirus deaths and cases continued Wednesday, with a record-breaking 67 deaths reported in one day. A total of 5,102 cases were added as well. The previous daily record was 56 deaths, which was reported on Nov. 11.

Find out more information on the new restrictions here.

This article originally appeared on the Southwest Minneapolis Patch