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Walz orders partial closure of restaurants, bars and more businesses in Minnesota

(KTTC/KBJR) -- Gov. Tim Walz has ordered the partial closure of bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and other attractions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota.

Walz's order closes restaurants and bars to dine-in customers. He also ordered the temporary closure of other places of public accommodation and amusement, including theaters, museums, fitness centers, and community clubs.

Walz said this closure order will take effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and is currently scheduled to end on March 27 at 5 p.m.

Drive-thru and takeout can continue under this order, and the Minnesota Department of Health recommends that these services remain open.

On Monday, the Department of Health announced that there are 54 cases of COVID-19 in the state. Walz said the goal is to slow the spread to protect those who are most vulnerable, and to prevent healthcare systems from being overwhelmed.

"We need to stop congregating," Walz said. "We're going to close the bars, restaurants, close the places where we gather. Understanding what we're doing is not lost on us."

The Department of Health recommends staff remain six feet apart from each other during this time. They also said payments should be made via digital means, and orders should be dropped off with no face-to-face contact.

This closure does not include grocery stores and pharmacies, which Walz said will be "critical infrastructure" to get people what they need.

In an effort to support the many Minnesotans affected by these closures, the Governor signed another order "to strengthen Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and ensure that workers who are not able to work as a result of COVID-19 have benefits available."

Walz's office says this Executive Order will waive the employer surcharge and allow the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to pay unemployment benefits immediately.

The full list of businesses affected by this rule closing is below:

i. Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption. This excludes institutional and in-house food cafeterias for businesses, hospitals, and long-term care facilities;

ii. Bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, and other places of public accommodation that offer alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption;

iii. Hookah bars, cigar bars, and vaping lounges offering their products for on-premises consumption;

iv. Theaters, cinemas, museums, and indoor and outdoor performance venues;

v. Gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoors sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, and spas;

vi. Amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities;

vii. Facilities of country clubs, golf clubs, boating or yacht clubs, sports or athletic clubs, and dining clubs.

The full Executive Orders can be found here.


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