(Original story retrieved from the Office of the Governor Website. For the original story with quotes from the Governor, click here: Governor Walz Announces Timeline to End State COVID-19 Restrictions (mn.gov)
[ST. PAUL, MN] – 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.
The most at-risk Minnesotans – seniors, long-term care residents, assisted living residents, educators, and front-line workers – have gotten their vaccines. Nearly 90 percent of Minnesotans over the age of 65 have gotten at least one dose.
Since mid-April, COVID-19 cases have declined. Hospitals are seeing fewer admissions and vaccination progress has relentlessly pushed forward. Vaccines held COVID-19 variants at bay and avoided having them overwhelm our state.
The three-step process will end nearly all state COVID-19 restrictions by May 28, and end the statewide masking requirement by July 1 at the latest.
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 service at other places of public accommodation.
The second step begins on May 28. Remaining capacity and distancing limits will come to an end, including for 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.
Because the youngest Minnesotans are not yet eligible for the vaccine, the Safe Learning Plan for schools will continue until the end of the school year to protect students, teachers, and staff in schools.
Additional protections will remain, including the eviction moratorium, a ban on price gouging, and eligibility exemptions for people who receive state services. The State will continue its emergency efforts to get Minnesotans tested and vaccinated and will continue to monitor the virus and the growth of variants in the months to come.
Additionally, local jurisdictions and businesses may still require masks and have other requirements beyond July 1.
Minnesotans can visit VaccineConnector.mn.gov to make a vaccine appointment at a Community Vaccination Program site or use the Find Vaccine Locations map to locate a provider near them.
Executive Order 21-21 is effective immediately upon approval by the Minnesota Executive Council, which is made up of Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Secretary of State Steve Simon, and State Auditor Julie Blaha.