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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Just as many Minnesotans are getting used to once again being able to dine at restaurants, albeit outside only, and schedule appointments with their barbers and hairstylists, Gov. Tim Walz says the state is ready to make another turn of the proverbial dial toward normal social restrictions.

On Friday afternoon, Walz appeared with the panel of health experts and business representatives providing near-daily updates on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects in Minnesota.

On a day in which the number of ICU beds in use for COVID-19 patients fell to its lowest number in more than a week and a half — though the number of deaths shot back up to 33 in the last 24 hours — Walz said that he was ready to move Minnesota into the next stage of reopening for business and recreation.

“Thank you, Minnesotans, for the sacrifices you’ve made to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Walz said. “Thanks to your dedication, we are now in a position to carefully turn the dial toward reopening society. As we move forward, it is more important than ever that we each do our part as we trust and rely on each other to keep our state safe.”

Starting Wednesday, June 10, the state will allow indoor seating at restaurants, limited to just 50% capacity. Walz said that gyms were also going to be allowed to open but only at 25% capacity, with a cap at 250 people total. These are predominately things that are allowed once the state reach Stage III of Stay Safe MN plan.

Restaurants that have both outdoor and indoor space are allowed to have up to 250 inside, as well as 250 outside. Reservations are still required.

Though the guidelines don’t call for the reopening of movie theaters until Phase IV, Walz announced that he was going to allow movie theaters to reopen as well, though again capping at 25% capacity, or up to 250 people. The same goes for other recreational centers such as bowling alleys. Included in the order are sporting events and concerts, so long as no more than 250 people are contained inside at any given time.

Pools are also on the list for reopening on Wednesday, with a maximum 50% capacity requirement.

Here’s a list of Phase III developments:

  • Restaurants can begin offering indoor dining while maintaining social distancing, requiring reservations, and seating no more than 50 percent occupancy.
  • Indoor social gatherings can take place with 10 people or less; outdoor social gatherings can take place with 25 people or less.
  • Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, and martial arts may open at 25 percent capacity.
  • Indoor entertainment venues, such as theaters and concert halls, can open at 25 percent capacity.
  • Recreational indoor entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, arcades, and museums may open at 25 percent capacity.
  • Personal services, such as salons, tattoo parlors, and barbershops, may increase occupancy rates to 50 percent while requiring reservations.
  • Outdoor entertainment venues, such as sporting events, concerts, and theaters may open at 25 percent capacity.
  • Places of worship can increase occupancy rates to 50 percent.

Steve Grove, of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said that everyone is strongly encouraged to wear masks at all of the above locations, as well as at work.

This week, restaurants readjusted to a business model that only allowed for dining on patios or otherwise outside. Here’s a partial list of places that are currently open for patio dining.

Due to the mass protests and rioting that happened in the Twin Cities and elsewhere this last week and a half, Walz and state health officials are recommending that anyone who attended a large gathering get tested for COVID-19, even if they aren’t symptomatic. They recommend that, even after getting a first test, everyone then consider getting a second test 12 or so days later.

Also on Monday, University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel announced she planned to recommend next week to the board of regents that in-person classes resume for the fall semester, with some changes.

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