ST PAUL, Minn. — Days before Minnesota's four-week "pause" comes to a close, Gov. Tim Walz has postponed an announcement on whether he'll extend it.
The restrictions on social gatherings, bars, restaurants, gyms and sports began Friday, Nov. 20 at 11:59 p.m., and are currently set to expire Dec. 18.
Previously, the decision was expected by Friday, Dec. 11. Gov. Walz's office later confirmed an announcement on Monday. On Friday, a spokesperson for the governor's office told KARE 11 the announcement was postponed again to Wednesday, Dec. 16.
At a Friday press conference, Walz was asked for a preview on the coming decision. In response, he said he's waiting on more data.
"This is the most challenging thing," he said. "Our pause went into effect three weeks ago... and it looks like there was an impact. It'll take another week to see what that impact was."
Walz said he was trying to strike a balance between supporting businesses and protecting people.
Health commissioner Jan Malcolm added that important infection data from Thanksgiving is still coming in.
"We are still at a very, very vulnerable place," she said.
The current restrictions specifically halt:
- All indoor and outdoor dining, moving bars and restaurants to takeout only
- All social gatherings with anyone outside your household
- All organized sports, both youth and adult
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Indoor entertainment venues
- Receptions and parties
Gov. Walz said Monday that he hoped to have an update by the end of the week, but did not give an exact date. At that time, the governor said he and state health officials were waiting to get a full picture of the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings on Minnesota's hospitalizations. That number lags due to the incubation period and the time it takes some of the people who contract the virus to develop severe symptoms.
Walz said he wanted to give businesses as much lead time as possible to adjust their plans.
“This is the virus’ timeline but people live in the real world," Walz said.
The governor warned that there will be some type of mitigation, as there is no option to "not do anything."
Walz will also convene a special session of the Minnesota Legislature on Monday, in an effort to get COVID-19 relief passed.