New Executive Order describes "Guidance" on Holiday Gatherings
Governor Walz announced new guidelines on Tuesday that increase the restrictions on bars, restaurants and even private social gatherings, beginning Friday 9/13 at 10pm.
Bars and Restaurants
- Bars and restaurants must close for dine-in service by 10pm.
- Bar counter seating must be closed unless the bar is a counter-only establishment.
- Indoor capacity is now limited to 150 people at one time, or not more than 50% of total capacity
- No bar games that require standing like pool or darts
- There is a new 10 person limit for both indoor AND outdoor gatherings.
- Social gatherings are limited to members of only three households, maximum, including the host.
- Weddings, Funerals and other similar events are required to end by the new 10pm curfew.
- Attendance to these types of events will be limited to 50 people beginning November 27th, and 25 people beginning December 11th.
- These limits apply only to the gatherings around a ceremony like a reception or luncheon. Not to the ceremony itself.
You can read the entire executive order here. (Opens a pdf of the order.)
While the Governor tried to back away from the idea that law enforcement would policing private gatherings in his announcement, it's important to note that the words of the executive order spell out the penalties for disobeying it:
- An individual who willfully violates this Executive Order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
- Any business owner, manager, or supervisor who requires or encourages any of their employees or anyone under their direction to violate this Executive Order is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $3,000 or by imprisonment for not more than a year.
- Attorney General Keith Ellison, as well as city and county attorneys can sue any business for $25,000 per occurrence plus court costs that does not comply.
- State and local licensing agencies can use their inspections, ordinances and regulations to check for compliance with this Executive Order and use existing sanctions, fees and fines to bring businesses into compliance.
The Governor and Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm explained these new restrictions by pointing out patterns in the data that they have collected which show that"that 18-35 year olds make up a disproportionate number of cases, and that over 70% of outbreaks from the last 6 months have a direct link back to weddings, private social gatherings, and late nights at bars and restaurants." In addition, they claim that contact tracing data show that there is an "infection spike" that occurs around 10pm.
I responded to these changes in a press release after the announcement. You can read the whole thing here. In part: “The Governor’s lockdown earlier this year was an economic and social disaster. The Governor’s policies are nothing more than abject failure after abject failure, delaying the spread until the Fall when hospitals are busy with regular seasonal increases in other illnesses. These latest measures are just another attempt to assert his control over everyone. When will he realize he is doing more harm than good?"
If you have been or will be negatively affected by these new restrictions please feel free to contact me. Elected officials need to know how these policies affect people's lives and not just the effects on COVID.