Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has signed an executive order extending the state’s stay-at-home order through May 18, with some loosened restrictions as the coronavirus pandemic continues. The measure was put in place March 16 and set to expire next week on May 4.
This order included the temporary closure of bars and restaurants as gathering places. These businesses are allowed to sell food for take out or delivery. In mid April, restaurants were granted the right to sell beer and wine in original containers to customers who purchase food. There is still no allowance for selling mixed cocktails, due to concerns over “open containers.”
The extension continues the mandatory closure on dining rooms, but take away, take and bake, and delivery sales will continue. Other businesses, like retail shops will be allowed to add curbside delivery.
Bars without food service will continue to be hindered. Take away orders are available for food only. While beer and wine are allowed, only one of either is allowed and must accompany a food order.
In a news release, Walz said, “Our actions have saved lives, but the threat of COVID-19 remains. The next stages of this pandemic are going to challenge us – an extension of Minnesota’s peacetime emergency will allow us to protect Minnesotans’ health and wellbeing and continue to respond effectively to this rapidly-evolving situation.” He went on to say that the only thing worse than continuing to keep businesses closed, would be opening and having to close businesses again.
On Thursday another 492 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported, raising the total of known cases in the state to 5,136. There were 24 more deaths were reported, with 343 fatalities so far. As of Wednesday, nearly 80% of all deaths have been among residents in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
States across the country are weighing the benefits and risks of re-opening for business. Atlanta and Texas have made the controversial decision to open for business.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the date of the extension as May 13.