Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said that more than 70% of the state's outbreaks between June and November were linked to weddings, private social gatherings, and late nights at bars and restaurants.
His comments came as he announced new restrictions across the state in a news conference Tuesday to help fight "a significant surge of coronavirus cases."
The new restrictions include:
- Social gatherings indoors or outdoors will be restricted to 10 people
- Gatherings limited to three households or fewer
- A phased approach for wedding, funeral and similar receptions, leading to a 25-person cap in December
- Receptions and similar events cannot take place between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
- Bars and restaurants will be at 50% capacity or no more than 150 total
- Counter service will be closed for seating
- The restrictions go into place at 10 p.m. Friday local time
Walz said three of the most significant sources of Minnesota's Covid outbreaks were:
- Social gatherings
- Celebrations and receptions
- Bars and restaurants
“Most young people are taking great precautions to protect themselves and their community,” Walz said during the news conference. “Most bars and restaurants have done a great job responding to the pandemic and keeping their customers and employees safe. But this virus is spreading like wildfire, and every gathering place is now more dangerous than it was a month ago.”
Walz said that there would be no change to religious services, saying that data has not shown a connection between services and the increased outbreaks.
Minnesota reported 4,904 new cases Tuesday and 23 new deaths. It has a positivity rate above 10% and 2,698 people have died in total, with more than half of those deaths being in long-term care facilities.