MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s COVID-19 statistics are still rising as many in the state plan outdoor get-together’s for this holiday weekend.

The Minnesota Department of Health says four more people have died from COVID-19 in the state. There are 924 new confirmed cases of the virus. Minnesota’s positivity rate is 4.9%, which is pushing the 5% mark health officials need us to stay under, or there could be a roll back in restrictions.

It’s those rising COVID-19 numbers that has Minnesota state leaders nervous about this long, Labor Day weekend.

“The backyard meetings, the BBQs, families mixing together, not in their immediate family, is driving a lot of what’s happening here,” said Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday, during a news conference with MDH.

Walz says he knows it’s unrealistic to ask Minnesotans to stay inside on a beautiful weekend, but he is urging people to wear their masks, even when they’re outside in group settings.

Wayzata Bay was pretty busy for the start of the holiday weekend, which is something Walz warned would happen.

However, most people were doing activities that allowed them to social distance, like kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.

“We’ve been so busy this year, a lot more busy than last year,” said Natalie Koehler, with Wai Nani Stand Up Paddle Board and Kayaks in Wayzata. She believes they’re seeing a surge in business during a pandemic because it’s a safe, fun activity that allows people to keep their distance from each other.

Maria Lloyd and Kate Hall took the kayak rentals out on Lake Minnetonka.

“It’s definitely busy,” said Lloyd, “We’re trying to avoid the crowds and we thought the water might be the best way to do that to have open space.”

Hall is visiting from California, she says “the restrictions are a little less tight here which has been nice, but I think everyone has been really cognizant in keeping distance.”

People at the outdoor Excelsior Flea Market were playing it safe, with most wearing their masks while shopping.

“A lot of mask wearing, so you feel pretty safe and everyone is taking it serious which is good,” said John Maresh.

While we usually don’t want the summer to end, some accept it, knowing it’ll be the end of a very unconventional year.

“I just think we’re ready for winter,” said Yarira Pineda, who spent the afternoon on a stand up paddle board with her family on Lake Minnetonka.

Marielle Mohs

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