Gov. Tim Walz on Monday ordered all Minnesota bars and restaurants to close temporarily for dine-in service starting Tuesday as the number of coronavirus cases in the state rose to more than 50.
The emergency measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 comes one day after the DFL governor announced the temporary closing of K-12 schools across the state starting Wednesday. Both measures followed those of other governors across the country as the nation mobilized to slow the virus’ spread.
Walz said only pickup and delivery services will be allowed. The rules take effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday, ahead of St. Patrick’s Day crowds. They will stay in effect until Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m.
The governor’s order, made under “peacetime emergency” powers, also covers health clubs, theaters, museums, food courts, coffeehouses and other places of “public accommodation and amusement.”
The governor was joined by Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
Walz acknowledged that the closures of schools and public places where people gather is “incredibly disruptive.” But he said it is necessary to slow the virus’ spread and help the public health system. “We need to get this right,” he said. “We are at a critical point.”
The announcement came as state officials received a new economic forecast predicting a U.S. recession beginning in the second quarter of this year.