Yesterday Governor Tim Walz announced an update to Minnesota's coronavirus restrictions in an effort to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the state.

In the past two days, Minnesota has reported consecutive daily death records, with 67 on Wednesday and 72 yesterday. Minnesota hospitals are at the risk of exceeding ICU capacity, and running short of virus-free healthcare workers.

According to the state's COVID-19 website, here's exactly already in place, and what's changing beginning tomorrow night.

Social Settings

Changes begin December 18 at 11:59 p.m.
Two households may gather indoors, 10 people max.
Three households may gather outdoors, 15 people max.
Masks are strongly encouraged and social distancing must be maintained.


 

Critical Businesses

Open (must telework if you can, must have a COVID-19 preparedness plan by June 29, 2020)


 

Non-Critical Businesses (non-customer facing)

Open (must telework if you can, must have COVID-19 preparedness plan)


 

Retail

Open (must have COVID-19 preparedness plan)


 

Restaurants & Bars

Changes begin December 18 at 11:59 p.m.
Indoor dining is closed to the public.
Outdoor dining may resume at 50% capacity, 100 people max.
No more than four people per table, must ensure at least six feet between parties.
All establishments must close outdoor service between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.
Delivery, window, walk-up, or drive-up service is open and encouraged.


 

Personal Services (salons, tattoos, barbershops)

Capacity: 6 feet of distance, max 50% -- see guidance for additional details
Appointments: Required


 

Gyms, Personal Fitness & Yoga Studios, Martial Arts

Changes begin December 18 at 11:59 p.m.
Open at 25% capacity, 100 people max. Masks are required at all times.
12 feet of distance must be maintained between patrons. Machines must be 12 feet apart.
Group classes may resume on January 4, 2021.


 

Indoor Events & Entertainment

Closed to public.


 

Outdoor Events & Entertainment

Changes begin December 18 at 11:59 p.m.
Open at 25% capacity, 100 people max, with 6 feet of distance between households.
If food and drinks are served, patrons must be seated. Four people max per table.
Food and drink must not be served or allowed for consumption between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.


 

School Buildings

All public and private schools will follow the Safe Learning Plan.


 

Child Care

Open per CDC guidance


 

Youth Programming

Open per MDH guidance and CDC guidance
Youth programs will continue to operate as long as the primary purpose is child care, not sports instruction or competition.


 

Organized Sports (Adult & Youth)

Closed. Practice can resume Jan. 4, 2021.


 

Outdoor Recreation Activities & Facilities

Changes begin December 18 at 11:59 p.m.
Open per DNR's Outdoor Recreation Guidelines. All indoor facilities at outdoor recreation sites will be closed. Three households may gather outdoors, 15 people max.


 

Places of Worship, Religious Services, Weddings, & Funerals

Open with guidance.
Strong recommendation for virtual services ONLY.
Weddings, funerals, and other similar planned ceremonies can be held with the current rules in place, but all receptions and gatherings connected to these ceremonies must be canceled or postponed.


 

Reception Spaces for Celebrations or Private Parties

Closed.


 

Campgrounds & Charter Boats

Changes begin December 18 at 11:59 p.m.
Open with guidance.
Three households may gather outdoors, 15 people max.


 

Large Public Gatherings Over 250 People

Closed.


 

Pools & Swim Parks

Closed.


 

The most recent data from MDH continues to reflect alarming levels of community spread. Hospitals remain concerned about being able to treat the most critically-ill patients.  New admissions continue to stretch the capacity of our hospitals and ICUs. Deaths are continuing at an alarming rate, and remain significantly higher than we saw over the summer and fall. As of December 15, the 14-day average for COVID-19 deaths has increased to over 60 deaths per day.

Whether or not you agree with the Governor's order, the bottom line is that it's up to each of us as how the pandemic plays out in Minnesota moving forward. Support our area businesses and each other. Stay healthy and positive. Remember that this will eventually be a thing of the past.

Pete Hanson is on 98.1 Minnesota's New Country weekday mornings from 5:30 to 10:00.

Major Cities at the Same Latitude Line as St. Cloud