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 WalzJudge rejects Minnesota parents' attempt to force statewide school mask mandate Former Minnesota Senate Republican leader announces campaign for governor Minnesota parents sue Gov. Walz over lack of mask mandate in schools 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 WhitmerMichigan GOP governor hopeful says he would support state abortion ban: recording Democratic senator requests tech company policies on extremist content Governors brace for 2022 after year in pandemic spotlight 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.