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At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tim Walz asked Minnesotans to help slow the spread of the virus as hospitals built up capacity to ensure they could care for everyone who falls ill. That extra capacity is now being put to the test as the virus spreads quickly across the state, region, and country. More Minnesotans are getting sick, including health care workers, which is impacting hospitals’ ability to provide care even when there are enough actual hospital beds.

critical care beds infographic

In order to make effective decisions to control the spread of COVID-19, health officials need to understand how, when, and where this virus is spreading. Health officials, with guidance from experts at the White House Coronavirus Task Force and here in Minnesota, have analyzed testing results and contact tracing data to understand how the virus is spreading throughout the state. The results show that the virus is moving more quickly between younger adults aged 18-35. Because of this, social settings that attract a younger crowd are the most significant sources of COVID-19 outbreaks. In fact, over 70 percent of COVID-19 outbreaks in Minnesota from June to November have a direct link back to weddings receptions and similar types of events, a variety of forms of private social gatherings, and late nights at bars and restaurants. Even after we enacted new guidelines on November 13, 2020, there have been a further 30 outbreaks that were traced back to social environments such as these.   

Sources of recent outbreaks

As hospitals express concern about capacity to treat Minnesotans with COVID-19, Governor Walz has dialed back reopening efforts to curb the spread of the virus in Minnesota. Beginning Friday, November 20, broad restrictions will apply temporarily to many sections of our daily lives.  

Dial Back, Minnesota

Effective this Friday, November 20, Minnesotans will be asked to stay home for four weeks.  

  • All bars and restaurants will end dine-in service and operate exclusively with takeout or delivery.  
  • Fitness centers will be closed.
  • Adult and youth sports practices and competitions will be paused (professional and collegiate sports will continue).
  • Weddings, funerals, and other similar planned ceremonies can be held with the current rules in place, but all receptions and gatherings around these ceremonies must be canceled or postponed.

Holidays and celebrations

The most significant and perhaps most challenging restriction comes at a difficult time. The holiday season is difficult for many under normal circumstances. During COVID-19 it will be even more challenging. This time of year is when some gather with extended families, distant friends, and other special people in our lives. But this year should be different.

  • Minnesotans should not gather with anyone outside their immediate household, whether indoors or outdoors. 
  • During the next four weeks we are also asking that no person outside of the immediate household be brought into your home, except if certain exceptions apply. 

Within these guidelines is the opportunity to celebrate with those you already live with, but in order to protect our most vulnerable Minnesotans, we are urging you to reconsider any gathering that bring people of different households together.  

Governor Tim Walz's Executive Order

More about the Dial Back, Minnesota Executive Order 20-99.

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