Nov 10, 2020 – Governor Tim Walz today announced new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus in Minnesota. Beginning on Friday, the restrictions will apply to social gatherings, celebrations and receptions, and bars and restaurants. Governor Walz also today announced $10 million in funding to support small businesses affected by the pandemic. (Click here to print a summary.)

Starting this Friday, all bars and restaurants must end dine-in service between 10pm and 4am. Indoor capacity will be capped at 150 people, and may not exceed 50 percent of an establishment’s total capacity. Bar counter service will be closed for seating and service in all establishments besides those that only have counter service. In counter-service only establishments, patrons can line up with masks and then return to their table. These restrictions follow research that shows these environments become more risky later in the evening.

Beginning on Friday there will also be a 10-person limit for indoor and outdoor gatherings, and all social gatherings will be limited to members of three households or less.

Capacity limits for receptions related to weddings, funerals, and similar events will be instituted through a phased approach, but will eventually lead to a 25-person cap. In addition, such receptions and similar events may not take place between 10pm and 4am.

All current restrictions also remain in effect. Since data has not shown a connection between religious services and the recent increase in outbreaks, there will be no change to religious services.

To support small businesses that are struggling as they do their part to combat the spread of COVID-19, Governor Walz today announced $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.

“Public health and our economic vitality are tied at the hip – we can’t make the kind of meaningful progress we want to on economic recovery until we get this pandemic under control. It’s also clear that taking no action at this point would do more long-term harm to our economy than if we do some targeted things today,” said Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. “Let’s work together to get this right, Minnesota, so that we can end these regulations as soon as possible and get everyone back to work.”

This announcement comes after a week of record-setting highs in new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19. Minnesota’s neighboring states have the highest infection rates in the nation. Minnesota’s case positivity rate is above 10 percent, twice the level at which COVID-19 spread is considered controllable. On Monday, the Governor also announced a significant expansion in barrier-free testing across the state to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Executive Order 20-96 will have the full force and effect of law upon the approval of the Executive Council, which is made up of Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Secretary of State Steve Simon, and State Auditor Julie Blaha.