Walz reopens gyms, indoor dining on Wednesday

Gov. Tim Walz will allow restaurants, bars, and gyms to reopen at limited capacity starting Wednesday.

Walz signed Executive Order 2020-74 to move the state into Phase three of his Stay Safe MN plan.

Restaurants and bars can reopen indoor dining for guests with a reservation at half capacity with a maximum indoor capacity of 250 customers and an outdoor limit of 250 clients.

Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove said the 250-person cap on indoor and outdoor business events is intended to stop large organized gatherings like county fairs.

Inside social gatherings have a 10-person limit, while outdoor social gatherings are limited to 25 people, meaning that some sports can return.

Grove said there’s a capacity difference in outdoor social gatherings compared to inside restaurants because “there isn’t an organizing body” or regulations to force people to adhere to social distancing.

“It’s not perfect,” Grove said.

Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios can open at 25 percent capacity.

Recreational indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, theaters, and concerts may open at 25-percent capacity.

Salons, tattoo parlors and barbershops may increase occupancy rates from 25 percent to 50 percent with a reservation.

Places of worship can increase occupancy rates from 25 percent to 50 percent, which allows weddings and funerals.

Pools can open at half capacity.

“Thanks to your dedication, we are now in a position to carefully turn the dial toward reopening society,” Walz said in a statement. “As we move forward, it is more important than ever that we each do our part as we trust and rely on each other to keep our state safe.”

Critical businesses must make a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan by June 29.

“As we face the likelihood of many more months of this disease spreading at various levels in our communities, we must find a way to live with it – accepting a certain level of risk while taking steps to prevent a wave of cases overwhelming our health care sector,” Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement. “The goal is to find a proper balance of protections in a way that promotes the best interests of our state. That’s the balance we’re seeking here today.”

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, called on Walz to end his emergency powers that last until June 12, and the “arbitrary restrictions” on businesses.

“Minnesotans are prepared to safely socially distance and reopen businesses with proper procedures in place,” Daudt said in a statement. “Wisconsin’s restrictions ended three weeks ago; their positive case rates are dropping and other indicators remain stable and well below our rates here in Minnesota.”

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