Governor Walz Lays Out Timeline To End Of Minnesota COVID Restrictions, Mask Mandate
Ahead of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz's formal address on Thursday, he shared the timeline by which all COVID-19 business restrictions and mask mandates will be lifted. The timeline will roll out in a few phases, seeing a full lifting of all restrictions by July 1.
The goal laid out by the Governor's office is to end nearly all business restrictions by the end of May and the mask mandate by July. Here's the outline of the phases as laid out by Walz:
Phase 1 - May 7 at Noon
This phase mainly relaxes business and event restrictions, mostly in outdoor settings.
- The limits for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers ends as part of Phase 1.
- The requirement of masks in outdoor event/dining/gathering settings is removed, except for at large venues with over 500 people.
- The mandated early closing time of 11 pm for bars and restaurants as well as other venues that offer food and beverage is lifted.
Phase 2 - May 28
Remaining capacity and distancing limits for outdoor and indoor venues will end, however some additional requirements will remain in place. These remaining requirements are as follows:
- Face coverings indoors and at outdoor events with over 500 people will still be required.
While there are no new safety requirements for businesses, they must maintain their established plans to keep employees and patrons safe, guided by a minimal universal guidance document.
Phase 3 - Variable Start Date, No Later Than July 1
Phase 3 will begin once 70% of Minnesotans ages 16 and older are vaccinated or on July 1, whichever comes first.
This phase will remove the remaining face covering requirement and the requirement for a COVID-19 preparedness plan will end. Local jurisdictions and businesses will still have autonomy to enforce mask mandates locally beyond July 1.
The Governor also said certain other protections implemented during the pandemic, including the eviction moratorium, price gouging ban, and eligibility exemptions for people who receive state services will remain in place beyond this date. Also included in this is the Safe Learning Plan for schools, which will stay in place through the end of the school year, being many school-age children are not yet eligible for vaccination.