ST. PAUL — State health officials on Tuesday, Nov. 10, asked Minnesotans to consider revising their Thanksgiving plans this year to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday announced a new 10 p.m. cap on in-person service offerings at bars and restaurants beginning Friday and outlined limits on the number of people that could attend weddings and other social gatherings moving forward.
And that new set of restrictions set a limit of 10 people that can meet for inside or outdoor social gatherings, bringing down a prior 25-person cap on outdoor social events. The guidelines also prohibit members of more than three households from congregating for indoor social events.
Those who violate the executive order could face a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail.
State health officials on Tuesday said the new restrictions, which primarily take effect Friday, could force some Minnesotans to reframe their plans for Thanksgiving.
While they said law enforcement officers won't be asked to police Thanksgiving gatherings around the state, they asked that Minnesotans consider the possible risk to friends and family in interacting with several people that don't reside within their household.
"We’re not going into someone’s home and arresting them on Thanksgiving. We're really at the point in this where we've crossed 10 million, most of the projections here show the spike that is going to happen is going to be catastrophic throughout the upper Midwest and a large portion of the country " Walz said. "I'm trying to get the word out for people who are trying to decide what is the right way to approach this? How do we get through the end of this? And I think putting out that guidance, putting out that clarity around it."
“We’re certainly encouraging people to do the best they can to follow it," he continued.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday reported 4,906 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and 23 more deaths from the illness and its complications. State health officials have urged Minnesotans to take precautions to prevent the illness' spread and said the additional restrictions were aimed at keeping hospital bed space and health care worker capacity available to treat all those who need care.
Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said the families could also consider separate table arrangements to seat members of families from different households together. She likened the separate seating to a kids table and adult table at typical family gatherings.
"That would reduce your risk," Ehresmann said. "As we've said, these are things to reduce your risk, they don't eliminate your risk but they would reduce risk so certainly separating while you're eating, when you're taking your mask off, that's a good idea."
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920.
- COVID-19 discrimination hotline: 833-454-0148
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 website: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website.