ST. PAUL (WCCO) — After weeks of shutdown and dire numbers concerning the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, Friday came a sign of hope.

Governor Tim Walz signed an amended executive order which will allow Minnesotans a return to limited outdoor recreation.

Beginning Saturday morning, golf courses and driving ranges, bait shops, marinas and public trails can reopen.

However, the Governor’s order still maintains that citizens travel close to home. The order also stresses that everyone continues to observe a safe social distance.

“The only way this is going to work, even with something like golf or shooting ranges or trails, is if we follow those rules: washing hands, stay home if you are sick, cough into your sleeve, wear a mask,” Gov. Walz says.

On Thursday Walz and six other Midwestern governors announced a coordinated approach to reopening their respective economies.

It will be determined by each state’s controlled rates of infection and hospitalization, broader testing, ability of hospitals to handle a resurgence of cases and the continued social distancing.

“When we’re able to test, trace and isolate then we can bring things back on,” Walz says.

In his daily briefing, Governor Walz explained how the department of health is closely watching a growing outbreak in Worthington.

Of 30 COVID-19 cases in the city, seven are confirmed in employees at the JBS meat packing plant.

That’s a concern especially given the huge outbreak in workers at the Smithfield packing plant in nearby Sioux Falls.

“The quicker we get on this the sooner we can launch a public health response,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm says.

Walz added that the relaxed rules concerning outdoor activities will take effect Saturday at 5:00 a.m.

Bill Hudson

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