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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With the weather getting warmer, Minnesota have been gathering outside. Perhaps it’s a glass of wine with neighbors in the driveway or a socially-distanced walk with a friend.

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So, what are the guidelines for outdoor get-togethers? Good Question.

For the Schmitts in Minnetonka, it means not yet holding their 6-week-old grandson. Instead, they go on once-a-week walks where the Grandma and Grandpa walk six to eight feet behind the baby’s stroller.

“It’s been very difficult,” Jane Schmitt said.

In the Minnesota governor’s Stay-At-Home order, individuals “may engage in outdoor activities (e.g., walking, hiking, running, biking, driving for pleasure, hunting, or fishing), and may go to available public parks and other public recreation lands, consistent with remaining at least six feet apart from individuals from other households.”

“We want people in, as much as possible, to stay within their family groupings,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases at the Minnesota Department of Health.

But, she understands people’s need for interacting.

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“Those interactions, when they’re outside, they can be OK,” Ehresmann said. “But it’s really important you make sure they’re outside and that you’re maintaining adequate distance.”

Adequate distance is defined as six feet.

“The idea of going on a walk together and trying to stay six feet apart might be a little more challenging than saying we’re going to put two tables in a driveway and we’re going to measure it with a tape measure,” Ehresmann said.

She said people should think about whether small children can properly social distance. People should also consider how they would enter or exit the place they’d gather. And, it’s much easier to stay separated with two families, rather than five.

“It’s not just sitting apart, it’s making sure you stay apart,” she said.

Staying outside is important, mostly because there’s much more space. Ehresmann said only people within a family grouping should gather inside a home.

“We’re doing this for the good of the community,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re not having too much mixing because the intent of this is to slow down the transmission.”

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Heather Brown