Friday, November 20, 2020 – As the spread of COVID-19 skyrockets across the state and hospitals voice concern about ability to treat those who fall ill, on Wednesday, Governor Tim Walz announced new actions to help control the spread of the virus. Turning the dial back, Governor Walz announced a four-week pause on social activities, in-person dining, sports, and fitness establishments.
Throughout the pandemic, Governor Walz has followed the data. Now the data is moving rapidly, and this week’s actions follow suit. Last week, Governor Walz explained that public health measures are targeting who, when, and where the virus is spreading. With community spread at an all-time high, the who is all of us; the when is all of the time; and today’s actions focus on the where. The scientific research and public health data indicate that the virus is spread most in places where people gather for long periods of time, especially when masks are not consistently worn. For instance, a quick stop at a retail store with a mask and social distancing appears to be lower risk than a gathering of friends for dinner where guests are likely to be seated closer together and unmasked while eating or drinking—whether it’s at a restaurant or in their own home.
“Today marks a somber milestone in the pandemic as we surpass 3,000 Minnesotans lost to COVID-19,” Governor Walz said on Wednesday. “This immense loss strikes at the heart of our state. We are at a breaking point. As hospitals near the crisis of turning away new patients, continuing as things are is simply not sustainable. The actions announced today will help prevent more families from losing a loved one and ensure our hospitals can treat those who fall ill. While these actions mean incredible hardship for many, they are the fastest way to recover our economy, keep our kids in school, and get back to the activities we love.”
Beginning Friday, November 20, at 11:59pm and lasting until Friday, December 18, in-person social gatherings with individuals outside your household are prohibited; bars and restaurants are dialed back to take-out and delivery service only; gyms, fitness studios, entertainment venues, event spaces, and similar establishments will need to close; and adult and youth sports are paused. Retail businesses, salons, and places of worship may continue to operate with proper precautions in place. Childcare remains open. Schools will continue to operate under the Safe Learning Plan, which shifts between in-person, distance, and hybrid learning depending on the local conditions of the virus. All other current restrictions also remain in effect. All major health care providers in Minnesota have backed the Governor’s actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. You can read what Minnesota’s health care leaders are saying about the dial back here.
On Wednesday, Governor Walz also announced that Minnesota has ranked the best in the nation in sharing essential COVID-19 information through its online dashboard, according to a new national report published by Resolve to Save Lives, part of the global health organization Vital Strategies. The report, “Tracking COVID-19 in the United States: Progress and Opportunities” , analyzed the quality and breadth of COVID-19 information shared by all 50 states and found that Minnesota had the strongest COVID-19 data dashboard in the nation, praising Minnesota’s dashboard for providing “robust information, enabling communities to be better informed on the local spread of COVID-19 and risk of infection.”
On Thursday, as Minnesota reached the grim milestone of over 3,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, cities and towns across the state lit dozens of Minnesota landmarks in purple to honor victims of COVID-19 and the frontline workers battling the pandemic.Cities, towns, sports team, museums, libraries, companies, and more joined in this solemn moment of unity across the state.