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Minnesota to close bars, restaurants, gyms for four weeks: report

Minnesota to close bars, restaurants, gyms for four weeks: report
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Minnesota Gov. Tim WalzTim Walz Minneapolis beefs up security ahead of former officer's trial in George Floyd death Officials: Barr blocked officer plea deal in George Floyd death OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden EPA asks Justice Dept. to pause defense of Trump-era rules | Company appeals rejection of Pebble Mine | Energy pick Granholm to get hearing Wednesday MORE (D) is expected to announce Wednesday that he will close bars, restaurants and gyms for four weeks in a bid to slow the steep rise in coronavirus cases, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune

The state has seen a marked increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, and without significant actions, the outbreak shows no sign of slowing down as winter arrives. 

Minnesota has one of the highest per capita rates of the coronavirus in the country, according to COVID Exit Strategy, though the neighboring Dakotas are experiencing even more severe outbreaks.

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The state has about 1,700 coronavirus hospitalizations, up from 738 at the beginning of November, according to the COVID Tracking Project. 

Indoor dining at bars and restaurants is one of the leading sources of spread of the coronavirus, experts say, given that it brings people together indoors for extended periods of time without masks. 

Restaurants will still be able to offer takeout, the Star Tribune reported.

Private gatherings in people’s homes are another significant source of spread, and they are harder for policymakers to fight. Minnesota will limit group gatherings to individual households, down from the previous limit of 10 people from three households, the Star Tribune reported, citing a source with knowledge of the restrictions.  

Minnesota follows Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerTwo men charged with making threatening calls to Michigan officials Biden sparks Twitter debate over pronunciation of Midwest supermarket chain White Christian nationalism and the next wave of political violence MORE (D) also closed bars and restaurants earlier this week.

Many states, though, particularly those run by Republican governors who say they do not want to close businesses, have not taken such steps. Other states have imposed earlier closing times on bars and restaurants without closing them completely. 

New York City on Wednesday announced it would close its schools down again, which drew some criticism given that indoor dining remains open there.