Walz Adjust the Dials
This morning the Governor announced another roll-back of his COVID restrictions on private businesses. This comes after the President announced last night we should be “back to normal” by July 4th. Up until this point Walz has never given us a time table for reopening. While I am happy to see this roll back we are still far behind our neighboring states when it comes to opening businesses.
Unless otherwise noted, the adjustments are effective at noon on Monday, March 15. They include measures to:
- Make it easier to safely gather with family:
- Social gatherings: Up to 50 people outdoors or 15 people for indoor gatherings, both without household limits.
- Youth sports: Pod size increasing to 50 for outdoor activities.
- Religious services: Remove occupancy limit, but social distancing required.
- Celebrations: Follow venue guidance.
- Support small businesses:
- Bars and restaurants : Increasing allowable occupancy to 75%, up from 50%, with a limit of 250 people. The limits apply separately indoors and outdoors. Bar seating increases to parties of 4.
- Salons/barbers: Removing the occupancy limit, but social distancing required.
- Gyms/fitness centers/pools: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%. Outdoor classes can increase to 50 people.
- Entertainment venues: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%, both indoors and outdoors, with a limit of 250.
- As summer nears, the state will adjust guidelines for large venues. All venues can open at 50% capacity up to 250 people. Venues with normal occupant capacity over 500 can add additional guests, effective April 1:
- Seated outdoor venues can add an additional 25% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 10,000 people.
- Non-seated outdoor venues can add an additional 15% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 10,000 people.
- Seated indoor venues can add an additional 15% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 3,000 people.
- Non-seated indoor venues can add an additional 10% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 1,500 people.
As more Minnesotans are vaccinated, work from home will no longer be required – but it will continue to be strongly recommended – beginning April 15. This is perhaps one of the biggest changes, next to the complete lift of wedding restrictions, we saw from his announcement. This means offices that choice to do so can welcome new employees back. As the economy starts to flicker back to life we have to let our business return to normal and have an environment that encourages job creation.
Governor Walz California Car Initiative
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is working to adopt a new rule to reduce vehicle emissions and make more electric vehicles available to consumers in Minnesota, known as the Clean Cars Minnesota rulemaking. After the current open comment period closes on March 15, you will have an opportunity to respond to comments that other individuals or organizations have submitted into the record—known as the rebuttal comment period.On March 16, the Office of Administrative Hearings will publish a new e-comments webpage for rebuttal comments. We will post a link on the Clean Cars Minnesota rulemaking page as soon as it's available.
The current open comment period closes on Monday, March 15, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.
In order to submit a comment you must write your question or comment down and submit through the Office of Administrative Hearings e-comments website, or by fax or mail according to the instructions in the public notice.
Step-by-step instructions for how to submit a comment and attach documents is available on the Office of Administrative hearings website: Directions for using the rulemaking e-comments website
All comments regarding the proposed rule must be sent to Administrative Law Judge Palmer-Denig to be included in the official rulemaking record.
You can submit rebuttal comments from March 16 through Monday, March 22, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.
Today, it was announced that on Wednesday, March 10 vaccine eligibility will expand to the next two groups of priority populations – more than 1.8 million Minnesotans will become eligible to receive a vaccine beginning this week. These newly-eligible Minnesotans, the state has directed providers to prioritize appointments for individuals in the first of these groups. Providers will then have the flexibility to offer available appointments to people in the second group.
The first group includes:
- People with specific underlying health conditions: Sickle cell disease, Down Syndrome, or oxygen-dependent chronic lung or heart conditions, and those who are in active cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant
- Targeted essential workers: Food processing plant workers
- Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness
The second group includes:
- People age 45 and older with ONE or more of the following underlying medical conditions; or, age 16 and over with TWO or more of the following underlying medical conditions (learn more about these conditions on the Who’s Getting Vaccinated page):
- Active cancer
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Diabetes - Type 1 or 2
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from HIV, bone marrow disease, chronic steroids for more than 30 days, immunodeficiency disease, or from taking immunosuppressive medications
- Obesity - body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2
- People 50+ in multi-generational housing
- Essential frontline workers: Agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, Postal Service workers.
On Walmart, you need to have a Walmart account but that’s easy to create.
The Minnesota vaccine connector scans Walgreens, Walmart, Thrifty White and HyVee for vaccines throughout the day. Their website is HERE.
HyVee - You have to search by location. I’d recommend using the Hy-Vee store locator to find stores within 50 miles of your home and starting there.
Their website is HERE.
CentraCare has a wide variety of appointments in Central Minnesota, you can schedule an appointment HERE
In the near future the state is going to be rolling out mass vaccine events. To sign up for it, the person needs to be registered with the vaccine connector HERE
Coborn's Grocery Store and Pharmacy has also added vaccine appointments. The website is a little tricky and you need to create account but there is availability HERE
Finally, if you’re signing someone up here’s the info you mostly need:
- Date of Birth
- Phone number
- Email (you can use your own)
In some cases you might need their Medicare number, but they can show their card at the pharmacy.