A Three-Phase Plan to End COVID-19 Restrictions in Minnesota Begins May 7
May 6, 2021—Governor Walz announced this afternoon that all statewide COVID-19 restrictions will end on July 1, 2021 at the latest, or when the state reaches a vaccination rate of 70% of Minnesotans 16 years of age and older, whichever comes first.
The three-phase plan aims to ease the state out of pandemic restrictions.
Phase 1: Starting Friday, May 7 at noon, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues will no longer face outdoor dining capacity limits or closing time restrictions. Outdoor masking will no longer be required except for group events exceeding 500 persons.
Phase 2: Staring Friday, May 28, capacity limits end for indoor dining. Face coverings will still be required for events of 500 people or more (whether indoors or out). Businesses will be asked to maintain a plan for keeping their employees and customers safe, as they have been required to do since the beginning of the pandemic.
Phase 3: By Thursday, July 1, the statewide mask mandate will cease. This deadline could be moved up once 70% of Minnesotans ages 16 and older—which is 3,087,404 people—receive at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Local jurisdictions would remain able to set their own masking polices.
Individual businesses and institutions will be able to continue restrictions as they see fit, and the Safe Learning Plan for schools will continue through the remaining school year since those younger than 16 are not yet eligible to receive the vaccination.
The announcement comes as new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19 trend downward in the state.
Governor Walz Announces Timeline to End State COVID-19 Restrictions
Governor Walz Dials Back Many COVID Restrictions
March 12, 2021—Governor Walz announced today that the state is scaling back many COVID-19 restrictions. Beginning at noon on Monday, March 15, bars and restaurants can operate at 75% of their indoor capacity, and social gatherings may increase to 15 people indoors and up to 50 people outdoors. Public mask-wearing and social distancing requirements will remain in place.
Starting April 1, indoor events such as concerts for up to 3,000 seated people and up to 1,500 unseated people will be allowed.
Although the state’s work-from-home requirement for applicable businesses will be lifted April 15, employers will be encouraged to allow workers to continue the practice if they so desire.
This most recent rollback of restrictions comes amid a positivity rate of COVID-19 that has remained below 5% every day since Jan. 17. To date, more than 20% of Minnesotans have received a COVID-19 vaccine, which includes more than 70% of seniors. Governor Walz stressed that preventative measure such as wearing masks in public, social distancing, and hand washing will need to continue for Minnesota to stay on a positive trend in the fight against the pandemic. On Wednesday, the state reported its first known case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.351, first found in South Africa, and at least at least 29 cases involving the B.1.1.7 variant has been linked to a COVID-19 outbreak centered on organized sports in Carver County.
Students Returning to School and Their Families Should Be Tested for COVID-19 Every Two Weeks until End of School Year
February 24, 2021—Health officials are asking Minnesotans with children in school to get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks until the end of the school year. The recommendation applies to all youth returning to school, youth sports, or extracurricular activities. While it is not a requirement, health officials say regular testing complements other safety measures already in place, such as masking and social distancing.
In addition to students and their families, health workers, teachers, child care providers, and people who participate in youth extracurricular activities are encouraged to routinely be tested.
Parents are encouraged to use at-home saliva tests, community-based screening sites, and their health care providers to access tests. State officials say testing options will be expanded in schools and other settings to help more people get tested more easily. To date, Minnesota has screened more than 7.2 million samples from 3.4 million people for COVID-19.
COVID-19 community testing sites
MN Department of Health: To order in-home testing
Mark Your Calendar: Test Every Two Weeks
Sign Up for Minnesota’s COVID-19 Tracking App
November 23, 2020—Governor Tim Walz announced a new tool in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference today: a Bluetooth-enabled mobile app called COVIDaware MN. The COVIDaware MN app seeks to slow the spread of COVID-19 by notifying more Minnesotans—more rapidly—of possible exposures to COVID-19, so they can take action to protect their communities.
Minnesota is the 17th state to formally launch an exposure notification app, which has proven effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in other states.
The app notifies you if you’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19; and if you test positive, you can use the app to anonymously notify anyone you’ve been near. The app is free and does not collect any personal information or track your location.
For more information about how the app works, visit covidawaremn.com.
Aid and Assistance Is Available
Residents looking for updated information and relief opportunities regarding COVID-19 should visit Ramsey County's website to apply for any available aid. Aid for eligible residents may include resources for housing assistance, automobile repair, food support, and early childhood learning vouchers. Ramsey County is the local expert when it comes to Public Health resources. The county has relief available for both residents and businesses, and provides information from other agencies, such as the State of Minnesota and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).