Minnesota Report

Republicans breathed a sense of relief when Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) announce a greatly anticipated turning of the dial on Friday. Granted, they do not think it has gone far enough and continue to weigh-in on stripping the Executive Powers from him, as they will do later this week in the Senate, but there is some sense of the availed horizon.

As we work remotely and view things from afar we see an opening of the clouds, but with an acknowledgement bad behavior could snap us right back into the midst.

With March 15th change, “Beware the Ides of March” as was said to Julius Caesar by the Soothsayer, we should be cautious.

Unless otherwise noted, the adjustments are effective at noon on Monday, March 15. They include measures to:

  • Make it easier to safely gather with family:
    • Social gatherings: Up to 50 people outdoors or 15 people for indoor gatherings, both without household limits.
    • Youth sports: Pod size increasing to 50 for outdoor activities.
    • Religious services: Remove occupancy limit, but social distancing required.
    • Celebrations: Follow venue guidance.
  • Support small businesses:
    • Bars and restaurants: Increasing allowable occupancy to 75%, up from 50%, with a limit of 250 people. The limits apply separately indoors and outdoors. Bar seating increases to parties of 4.
    • Salons/barbers: Removing 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.
  • As summer nears, the state will adjust guidelines for large venues. All venues can open at 50% capacity up to 250 people. Venues with normal occupant 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.

After the announcement this is Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka’s (R-09, Nisswa) response, “The number of infections across the country is going down, the need for ICU beds is going down, and the vaccinated population is going up. The trend lines are all good and that is good news for all of us. The Governor announced he is opening up things more, and the more things open up, the more kids in school, and more businesses and venues open, the better. It’s positive news except – it’s only his hand on the dial.

“Last January I put out guidelines that could be a benchmark to lift emergency powers, and that was simply vaccinating everybody over age 65. We’ve hit 70% of seniors and we’re shifting vaccination eligibility to other groups. We’re at that point where the people most in danger from COVID are vaccinated.

“We renew our demand the Governor remove his emergency powers so we can work together, hand in hand. We really showed that we can do that early on in the pandemic by passing a number of bills and half a billion dollars in resources to attack the virus together. My hope is that this latest benchmark of 70% of people over age 65 vaccinated is the time to end emergency powers. Let’s finish off this terrible virus together.”