by CHRIS ROGERS
Starting next month, Winonans can get that haircut they’ve been waiting for. On June 1, Minnesota bars and restaurants will allowed to offer limited outdoor seating only, hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to reopen at 25-percent capacity, and campgrounds will be permitted to open with safety protocols, Governor Tim Walz announced today. State leaders also released more details on future phases of reopening.
For bars and restaurants, outdoor seating will be capped at 50 customers, the state will require physical distancing of six feet between parties, and parties will be limited to four people total or six people for families. In bars, restaurants, salons and barbershops, state officials wrote, “Customers will be either strongly recommended or required to wear masks, make reservations, and adhere to social distancing requirements to keep themselves, other customers, and employees safe.”
“Reservations will be required, so you can’t just walk in,” Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove said.
“We’re asking that all workers in these settings wear masks, and we’re strongly encouraging customers to wear masks, too,” Grove continued. “And really this is about the safety of workers, right? As workers come back in that environment, if customers are wearing masks — especially as they’re interacting, when they’re giving their order to a waiter, what have you — that does help prevent the spread to workers that are taking that risk to come in and serve you.” He added, “We get it. You can’t wear a mask and eat and drink … but having that mask when you come in, using it when you’re having conversation, and removing it when you eat and drink is the critical guidance.”
Walz and his cabinet described the new rules starting June 1 as the second phase in a gradual, cautious reopening of social and economic life in Minnesota, while stressing the importance of continued precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.
A newly released chart shows how future phases of reopening might be structured, such as — at some point — allowing social gatherings and religious services with up to 20 people instead of the current limit of 10. However, state leaders have not said when future phases would be implemented, but that going forward, they would lift or reimpose restrictions depending on how the pandemic progresses in Minnesota. If infection numbers soar, the state might need to reinstate portions of its stay-at-home lockdown, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm has said.
Under the governor’s order, reopening businesses are required to have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. More information and advice on how to safely, responsibly reopen is available at mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/safework/safe-reopening.