Governor Tim Walz today announced a three-step timeline to end nearly all state COVID-19 restrictions by May 28 and end the statewide masking requirement once 70% of Minnesotans age 16 years and older get their vaccine, or by July 1.
The announcement comes as more than 2.6 million Minnesotans have gotten their shot and the state is on track to vaccinate 70 percent of Minnesotans by the end of June.
“Our nation-leading vaccination effort has put us in a strong position to safely transition toward life as we used to know it,” said Governor Walz.
“The pandemic is not over and we have work to do. But from the State Fairgrounds to doctor’s offices, to retrofitted Metro Transit buses that deliver vaccines where they’re most needed, Minnesotans now have more opportunities than ever to get the vaccine when and where they want to. As cases recede, more people get vaccinated every day, and vaccines are readily available to all who want it, we can now confidently and safely set out our path back to normal.”
Step one takes place at noon on May 7. It includes initial steps to relax some restrictions, primarily in outdoor settings.
• Removes limits for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers, and ends the mask requirement outdoors except at large venues with over 500 people.
•Eliminates the state-established mandatory closing time for bars, restaurants, and food and beverage services at other places of public accommodation.
The second step begins on May 28. The remaining capacity and distancing limits will come to an end, including indoor events and gatherings. The requirements that will remain include:
•Face coverings indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people.
• There will be no new safety requirements for businesses, though they must maintain their plans to keep their employees and customers safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided only by a minimal universal state guidance document.
The third step takes place once 70 percent of Minnesotans age 16 years and older – 3,087,404 Minnesotans – get at least one dose of the vaccine, but no later than July 1.
• The remaining face-covering requirement and the requirement for preparedness plans will end. Work on vaccines will continue, and local jurisdictions and entities may set their own mask policies.
Gov. Tim Walz will address the state at noon, which will be available on his YouTube channel.