Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday afternoon the initiation of “Phase 3” of the state’s reopening plan in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. In this phase that begins Wednesday, the state expands the number of people in social gatherings and allows for more retail and recreational opportunities.

In this phase:

  • Restaurants can begin offering indoor dining while maintaining social distancing, requiring reservations, and seating no more than 50 percent occupancy.
  • Indoor social gatherings can take place with 10 people or less; outdoor social gatherings can take place with 25 people or less.
  • Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, and martial arts may open at 25 percent capacity.
  • Indoor entertainment venues, such as theaters and concert halls, can open at 25 percent capacity.
  • Places of worship can increase occupancy rates to 50 percent.
  • Recreational indoor entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, arcades, and museums may open at 25 percent capacity.
  • Personal services, such as salons, tattoo parlors, and barbershops, may open at 50 percent capacity while requiring reservations.
  • Outdoor entertainment venues, such as sporting events, concerts, and theaters may open at 25 percent capacity.

Gov. Walz has said the state will continue to follow the guidance of public health experts and make data-driven decisions based on key measures from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Special Session

A Special Session of the Minnesota Legislature is expected on June 12, when the current executive order on the peacetime emergency expires. Lawmakers have not agreed on the pace of the reopening.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said last Friday that the Senate GOP Senate will vote to remove the emergency powers the Governor has had to control the spread of COVID-19.

“Did you know that there’s only about – within a number or two – 219 deaths since the beginning of this pandemic, in Minnesota, that is not in the nursing homes? 219,” Gazelka said. “Think about what we have done to the state of Minnesota – all the restrictions, all the mandates – to school and businesses, and churches, and funerals, and weddings – all the restrictions that have been mandated under the Governor’s emergency powers and how many lives have been impacted by that. 219 deaths. Every one important. But think of the decisions that were made.”

The House DFL won’t support terminating the Governor’s emergency orders next week and thus begins the standoff on moving any legislation forward this summer.