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MN governor announces bar, restaurant curfew; limits all gatherings to 10 or less

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ST. PAUL, MN -- Minnesota's governor has placed new restrictions on the state's bars and restaurants and put limits on the size of social gatherings as the COVID-19 situation worsens.

Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, made the announcement during a press conference Tuesday afternoon in an effort to control the spread, especially among the 18-35-year-old age range.

Starting Friday, Nov. 13, all bars and restaurants must end dine-in service between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Indoor capacity will be capped at 150 people, and may not exceed 50 percent of an establishment’s total capacity.

Bar counter service will be closed for seating and service in all establishments besides those that only have counter service.

In counter-service only establishments, patrons can line up with masks and then return to their table.

"These restrictions follow research that shows these environments become more risky later in the evening," Walz's office said in a news release.

According to Walz's office, more than 70 percent of COVID-19 outbreaks in Minnesota from June to November has a direct link back to weddings, private social gatherings, and late nights at bars and restaurants.

Beginning on Friday there will also be a 10-person limit for indoor and outdoor gatherings, and all social gatherings will be limited to members of three households or less.

Capacity limits for receptions related to weddings, funerals, and similar events will be instituted through a phased approach, but will eventually lead to a 25-person cap. In addition, such receptions and similar events may not take place between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

All current restrictions also remain in effect, Walz's office said.

Walz said since data has not shown a connection between religious services and the recent increase in outbreaks, there will be no change to religious services.

He also announced $10 million in Small Business Relief Grants.

Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, a Republican, issued the following statement after Walz's announcement.

"These restrictions are another hit to Minnesota bars and restaurants, many of whom have been doing everything the right way to protect the health and safety of their guests and employees," Daudt said. "We're very concerned for the impact this will have these businesses owners and their hardworking employees heading into the winter months, especially with just a few days to plan for the new restrictions."

ST. PAUL, MN-- Governor Tim Walz will address Minnesotans on Tuesday at 2 p.m. with a live update announcing the next steps in the state’s response to COVID-19.

On Monday Gov. Walz hinted about potential restrictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as cases in the state continue to increase.

According to KARE 11 Walz is likely to announce that bars must close at 10 p.m., and bar seating, darts and pool will be eliminated.

The source said Walz is expected to limit private gatherings, and wedding and funeral attendance.

The governor will be live on the KBJR6 webstream and Facebook page today at 2 p.m.

Briggs LeSavage

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