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Walz announces gradual reopening of indoor dining, gyms

Associated Press

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday a gradual reopening of indoor dining, gyms and entertainment venues during the coronavirus pandemic.

Walz said the restrictions will loosen next Wednesday, but customers and employees still will be either strongly recommended or required to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In a statement, Walz said the state is “now in a position to carefully turn the dial toward reopening society.”

Restaurants can offer indoor dining while maintaining social distancing, requiring reservations and seating no more than 50% occupancy. Gyms, yoga studios, theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys and museums may open at 25% occupancy.

Places of worship can increase their occupancy to 50%.

Minnesota Chamber President Doug Loon said businesses across the state welcome the progress. But Loon urged the Democratic governor to accelerate the process and reopen all Minnesota businesses by June 19.

As of Friday, Minnesota has confirmed 26,980 cases of the coronavirus, up 712 from the previous day. The state recorded 33 new deaths Friday, bringing Minnesota's death roll to 1,148.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.