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Overview of Stay Safe MN

Translations of Stay Safe Plan Changes Starting January 11, 2021


The Latest

  • Vaccines have arrived! Read more about them on our vaccine page
  • We must continue working to protect each other. Keep wearing your mask and stay home whenever possible. 
  • Beginning January 18, 2021, every elementary school across the state may choose to operate an in-person learning model as long as they are able to implement additional mitigation strategies. Check out the updated Safe Learning Plan for more. 
  • Changes to the Stay Safe Plan have been announced and will go into effect on January 11, 2021. View them on the Stay Safe Plan.

We have reason for optimism! We have started vaccinating those who are most at risk, COVID-19 cases are down, hospital capacity is steady, and our kids are heading back to the classroom. The sun is rising on the pandemic.

Minnesotans’ sacrifice and commitment to their communities over the holiday season helped change the pandemic’s trajectory and saved lives. By nearly any metric, the situation is improving. Tens of thousands of Minnesotans have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While progress is steady, the ramp up will take time, and most Minnesotans need to remain patient. But our friends, family, and neighbors most at risk are beginning to receive the protection they need. 

We are also on pace to return most of our youngest learners to the classroom within the next few weeks. It may not be the right choice for all families, but the option helps our kids get the high-quality education they need and brings relief to many families. 

Last month, Congress and the state legislature took steps to support our businesses, provide relief for workers, and make life easier for families. It’s not enough, and we will do more, but it’s a first step. 

There is much to be thankful for and hopeful about in the New Year, but we must remain on guard. Even though we’re seeing improvement, COVID-19 remains a threat to our communities and our daily lives:

  • There is still too much “community spread” – too many people are transmitting the virus without knowing they’re infected. 
  • New cases, while down, remain at a level that indicates high-risk.
  • Hospitalizations and deaths are still too high. 
  • We are also tracking a new strain of COVID-19 that is starting to pop up in other states and could be more contagious than the strain we’ve been fighting for the past year.
But the situation in Minnesota is undeniably better than it was last month. We are continuing to see progress. We can be optimistic. Recognizing the progress made, Governor Walz has announced measures that loosen restrictions on important parts of daily life while urging Minnesotans to protect the progress we’ve made.
venn diagram stay safe

Keeping Things in Balance

Controlling the virus
  • Adapting to – and learning from – what the virus is doing, and using technology to help our strategies evolve.
  • Protecting our hospitals and minimizing deaths and long-term health impacts from COVID-19.
  • Keeping our businesses afloat by supporting them and their workers. 
  • Helping families make ends meet and putting food on their tables.
  • Getting kids back in their classrooms. 
  • Giving Minnesotans safe outlets for their mental, physical, and social well-being.

Loosening Restrictions...

Today, COVID-19 is spreading more slowly across Minnesota than two months ago. Recognizing our progress – but understanding we need to remain cautious – we are adjusting the dials and opening more activities and sectors of the economy. 

  • Bars and restaurants can open at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 150 people. Parties of no more than six people must remain six feet from other parties; bar seating is open to parties of two; reservations are required; and establishments must close by 10 p.m.
  • Gym capacity remains capped at 25 percent but maximum capacity increases to 150. Machines and people should maintain 9 feet of distance. Classes increase to 25 people, assuming distancing can be observed. Everyone must be masked.
  • Outdoor events and entertainment continue at 25 percent capacity, but maximum capacity increases to 250 people. Social distancing is required. 
  • Indoor events and entertainment – like bowling alleys, movie theaters, and museums – may open at 25 percent, or no more than 150 people. Masks required. No food service after 10 p.m.
  • Youth and adult organized sports have resumed practice as of January 4 and games resume January 14 with spectators. Inter-region tournaments and out of state play are discouraged.
  • Pools opened January 4 for some activity and may now open, like gyms, at 25 percent capacity.
  • Wedding receptions and other private parties may resume with limits. If food and drink are served then, like other social gatherings, they are limited to two households or 10 people indoors and 3 households or 15 people outdoors. If there is no food or drink, they are covered by indoor event venue guidelines. Any related ceremony – like a wedding or funeral – is guided by rules for places of worship. 
  • Places of worship remain open at 50% capacity but without an overall maximum capacity.

...While Protecting Progress.

We have many reasons to be optimistic, but we need to be cautious as well. In March, we flattened the curve to get through the spring; starting in May, we were able to manage the virus over the summer; then in November, we had to act to prevent a hospital surge; and finally, in December, we asked Minnesotans to dial back and buy time. Today, we have to protect the progress we’ve made.

We will now be in a similar position to where we were over the summer, when we were able to manage the pandemic and preserve hospital capacity. But conditions are different now than they were in June and July. 

  • Many other states are seeing the virus surge.
  • Public health experts, including Dr. Fauci, are warning of a post-holiday wave of cases. 
  • We remain concerned about the emergence of a new, more contagious coronavirus variant spreading around the world.
  • As the weather gets colder and Minnesotans stay indoors, we risk gathering in settings that allow the virus to spread more easily.
We should continue to take precautions to combat the spread of the virus in their community – wear a mask, practice social distancing, and stay outside when possible. Get tested if you feel ill. We have more than enough capacity to test anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to the virus. And all Minnesotans should download the COVIDawareMN smartphone app to get notified if they’ve been exposed to someone who tests positive.
As we cautiously adjust the dials in recognition of improving conditions, we will continue to monitor where we stand. Two months ago the pandemic quickly snowballed from manageable to out-of-control. We cannot allow that to happen again.
Vaccines are here, the sun is rising, and we know this pandemic will end. But we have to allow enough time for the vaccines to get to everyone. We will do what we can to preserve hospital capacity and keep our frontline heroes and most vulnerable loved ones safe until everyone can get a shot.
Read Governor Walz’s Executive Order 21-01 
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