Gov. Tim Walz to announce tighter COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings

    Gov. Tim Walz urged Minnesotans to stay vigilant ahead of the Labor Day weekend. Photo by Ricardo Lopez/Minnesota Reformer.

    Gov. Tim Walz will try to clamp down on coronavirus by announcing tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants, weddings, funerals and private gatherings Tuesday.

    Beginning Friday, bars and restaurants will have to end wait service at 10 p.m. and limit seating, and weddings will be capped at 50 people beginning Nov. 27 and 25 people beginning Dec. 11, according to Brian Bakst of MPR.

    Indoor or outdoor private gatherings will be limited to 10 people from no more than three households, down from the current limit of 25 outdoors and 10 indoors, Bakst reported.

    This comes on the heels of a series of record-breaking highs for confirmed cases and hospitalizations across the state. Minnesota’s positivity rate is above 10%, twice the rate indicating controllable spread of COVID-19.

    On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 3,930 new cases and 19 deaths, for a total 184,788 positive cases and 2,675 deaths.

    As of Monday, 249 intensive care unit beds were being used for COVID-19 patients, with a total 1,079 ICU beds in use out of a total capacity of 1,452, according to the health department.

    “This is a dangerous phase of this pandemic. We’re in the midst of a surge in case positivity and hospitalizations,” Walz said Monday, when he also announced the opening of more than a dozen COVID-19 testing sites statewide.