Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has unveiled a three-step timeline to end all COVID-19 restrictions in the state, including the mask mandate.
According to Walz, the first step, which was implemented at noon on May 7, will be the further loosening of restrictions to places primarily in outdoor settings. This includes removing capacity limits for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers. The mask requirement will also end for outdoors except for large venues with over 500 people.
The mandatory closing time of 11 p.m. will also end for bars and restaurants.
The second phase of the plan is ending capacity and social distancing limits on May 28. These include ending the requirement for face coverings indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people.
The third phase, ending the mask mandate, will happen when 70% of the state’s eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. That’s expected by the end of June, so the mandate will end by no later than July 1.
Local governments will still be able to set their own mask policies and other requirements beyond July 1.
Walz says the timeline of ending restrictions comes as the most at-risk Minnesotans — seniors, educators and front-line workers — have received their vaccination.
Walz says additional protections will remain in place, including an eviction moratorium and a ban on price gouging.
As for schools, since those under 16 years old have yet to become eligible for vaccination, the Safe Learning Plan will continue until the end of the school year.