ST. PAUL -- In order to blunt the spread of the coronavirus, Governor Tim Walz has signed an executive order to temporarily close all bars and restaurants that serve dine-in guests in Minnesota.

Speaking from St. Paul Monday evening, Walz said the order also affects other public places, including theaters. museums, fitness centers and community clubs.

As the cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota continue to climb, we must take decisive action to curb the spread of this pandemic and protect the health and safety of Minnesotans,” said Walz. “This is a challenging time for business owners, employees, children and families alike. We must come together as One Minnesota to care for our neighbors and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Walz signed another executive order strengthening Minnesota's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to help workers facing temporary unemployment.

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We understand the hardships these closings place on Minnesota’s workforce, and that’s why we’re focused on supporting workers and businesses who may have to temporarily close their doors,” said Steve Grove, DEED Commissioner. “We’ve strengthened the state’s unemployment insurance program to expedite an increase in applicants looking for support, and we’ll stand by employers who may need new resources in this evolving economic climate.

Businesses affected by this rule will close March 17 by 5:00 p.m. through March 27 at 5:00 p.m. Delivery and curbside takeout services will be allowed but are required to adhere to community mitigation strategies recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Department of Health officials reported 54 cases of COVID-19 in 11 Minnesota counties Monday, with Benton County reporting its first case.

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