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Gov. Walz says loosened COVID restrictions are all about finding a balance

Governor Tim Walz announced he's loosening COVID restrictions starting on May 7.

MINNEAPOLIS — If you want an opinion on something, head to the internet and you won't have to look long.

Just search Governor Tim Walz on Twitter and you'll see how Minnesotans are reacting to his big announcement on Thursday.

Some people argue loosening the COVID restrictions in Minnesota right now is reckless, that it’s changing too much, too quickly.

Other people are arguing that the loosened restrictions don’t go far enough.

Many top republicans agree with that second viewpoint.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said in a statement Thursday, “My reaction today is simple. Not good enough and not soon enough. The emergency is over and the mandates need to end.”

With wide ranging opinions like that, pleasing everyone just isn't going to happen.

"We've asked much of you. We followed the science. We tried to strike a proper balance,” Governor Tim Walz says.

Balance, the goal we all search for in our own lives, balancing work, family and leisure.

It’s a goal Governor Walz says his new loosened restrictions are all about.

That theme of creating a balanced approach is symbolized even more by the two commissioners who were also present during the governor’s formal announcement Thursday afternoon.

On one side, you have the commissioner of health, whose role is to keep Minnesotans safe from COVID.

"It remains a threat to all of us,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says.

And on the other side you have the commissioner of DEED, charged with keeping Minnesotans employed.

"They have all made countless sacrifices to keep our state safe,” commissioner Steve Grove says.

So again, balance, is what Governor Walz says it's all about.

Giving all sides a little, no one a lot, hoping it's for the best of Minnesota.

Starting May 7, no more capacity limits at outdoor venues.

And no more masks outside, unless it's more than 500 people.

And bars and restaurants will no longer have to close early.

On May 28, pretty much everything else goes away, the capacity and distancing limits for both indoor and outdoor events, like concerts, weddings and graduations.

Except for masks, those will still be required indoors until July 1st, or possibly sooner if Minnesota reaches a milestone of having 70% of eligible people vaccinated.

"We have the doses that we can get this done just as quickly as possible if Minnesotans are willing to get out there and get it done," Governor Walz says.

So, the mask mandate has become a prize of sorts.

It will go away if 70% of eligible Minnesotans get vaccinated.

Health officials say we're at about 60% right now.

The question is, will getting rid of masks be enough to sway 10% or more of Minnesotans to get the shot?

To do what Governor Walz says it's all about, finding a balance, between what the science says we should do and what people and businesses need to keep going.

"Let's win this thing. Let's finish strong. Let's recognize that there's still much to do, but today let's pause for a minute, we're here, we're here, we're here, we're here,” Walz says.

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