(Learfield News Service/St. Paul, MN) Retail stores and other main street businesses in Minnesota can re-open Monday if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50 percent occupancy, Governor Tim Walz said last night as he announced he’s letting his stay-at-home order expire.
The governor says small businesses are critical to Minnesota’s social and economic fabric. “I recognize how hard this pandemic has fallen on them, and I hope this action charts a safe and prosperous path forward,” he says.
Walz says family-and-friend gatherings of 10 people or less can resume, and his administration is preparing guidance on how to safely re-open bars, restaurants, barbershops, salons and fitness centers beginning June 1st. He says, “This will coincide with a significant increase in testing, tracing and isolating the virus in the state.” But Walz stresses that to avoid an overwhelming peak in COVID-19, Minnesotans must double-down on efforts at social distancing, wear masks when out shopping, and continue to work from home if they can. He says, don’t gather in large groups, whether at a backyard barbecue or a religious service.
Walz says, “We are still in the heart of this pandemic, and this can go in a bad direction very quickly. We must keep this virus at a simmer and not a boil.” Walz says a month ago the state got an “A” for social distancing, but last week the grade was “D.” The governor says, “It’s not acceptable. Minnesotans, we pride ourselves in our exceptionalism. We love to be the best at things, and one of those things that we are best at is looking out for our neighbors. We can, must and will do better.”
The governor urges Minnesotans, work from home if you can, wear masks when you go shopping and stay close to home. He says people should not be in groups of larger than ten, should get tested when they have symptoms and stay home if they’re sick.