Gov. Tim Walz announced new restrictions on bars and restaurants as well as private gatherings during a statewide address Tuesday.
“We need to move now. This has happened incredibly quickly,” the governor said during his announcement, noting that the state is in the midst of a “significant statewide COVID-19 surge.” Minnesota has experienced several consecutive days of record new infections.
Under the governor’s new orders, restaurants and bars are required to cut off in-person service by 10 p.m. Bar seating and bar games that require standing are prohibited. The updated executive order reduces the maximum occupancy for restaurants and bars from 250 people to 150 people.
The new executive order will go into effect starting Friday at 10 p.m.
The order also comes with new phased-in event caps, limiting the number of people who can attend “celebrations and receptions” to 50 people by Nov. 27 and 25 people by Dec. 11.
Walz has also ordered Minnesotans to limit private gatherings, indoors and outdoors, to 10 people and from no more than three households (regardless of the number of people). The new restrictions on private events come just two weeks before Thanksgiving.
Violations of the executive order are a misdemeanor punishable by a $1000 fine or 90 days in jail.
Walz said the new restrictions are aimed at curtailing the activity of those between the ages of 18-35. Although younger people are less likely to exhibit symptoms or become severely ill, Walz called the 18-35 demographic a primary “transmission method.”
Walz’s new restrictions were criticized by leaders in the hospitality industry, who believe that the governor is unfairly singling them out.
“We would hope that any targeted restrictions being contemplated would take into account that restaurants and bars are affiliated with only 2% of the cases, and not unfairly single out these businesses,” Hospitality Minnesota CEO Liz Rammer said Monday.