MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — City officials in Minneapolis say two scenic stretches along the Mississippi River will close for the duration of the governor’s stay-at-home order to allow joggers and walkers more room to practice social distancing.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board announced Thursday that West River Parkway will close to car traffic between Plymouth Avenue North and 11th Avenue South. However, one lane will remain open near Portland Avenue South so that motorists can access the Stone Arch Bridge parking lot.

The other road that will effectively become an open street is directly across the river. Main Street Southeast will close to car traffic between Hennepin and 3rd avenues, with partial closures extending down to 6th Avenue.

These two road closures are slated to last from 5 p.m. Friday to the evening of April 10, roughly the timeframe of Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order. The executive order directs Minnesotans to stay at home as much as possible for two weeks. It goes into effect Friday at midnight.

However, the order does not bar people from exercising outside. Getting outside is encouraged as social distancing, the means by which the community is encouraged to curb the spread of COVID-19, can be taxing and stressful for some. Time outside can help alleviate that stress, health officials say.

When walking, running or cycling outside, Minnesotans are urged to keep six feet between themselves and others, so as not to spread the virus. In Minnesota, more than 300 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least two people have died.

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