Minnesota governor Tim Walz

(FILE PHOTO) Governor Tim Walz Announces Four-Week Dial Back to Control Spread of COVID-19 

(St. Paul, MN) - Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has issued Executive Order 20-99, ordering a dial back of specific activities to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The order says this is not the Stay at Home Order, which was issued earlier this year closing bars, restaurants, gyms, hair salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, and all other non-essential businesses.

The new order strongly urges people who are in the high-risk category to stay home.

It also outlaws social gatherings with others outside of your immediate household, even if social distancing can be maintained. The order says, "This prohibition includes indoor and outdoor gatherings, planned and spontaneous gatherings, and public and private gatherings. Organizers of prohibited social gatherings may be subject to appropriate enforcement action by city, county, and/or state authorities pursuant to paragraph 10 of this Executive Order." Paragraph 10 says anyone caught violating the order is subject to a fine or jail time. It also says, "Any business owner, manager, or supervisor who requires or encourages any of their employees, contractors, vendors, volunteers, or interns to violate this Executive Order is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $3,000 or by imprisonment for not more than a year."

Beginning Friday, November 20, at 11:59 p.m. and lasting until Friday, December 18, in-person social gatherings with individuals outside your household are prohibited; bars and restaurants are dialed back to take-out and delivery service only; gyms, fitness studios, entertainment venues, event spaces, and similar establishments will need to close; and adult and youth sports are paused.

Retail businesses, salons, and places of worship may continue to operate with proper precautions in place.

Childcare remains open.

Schools will continue to operate under the Safe Learning Plan, which shifts between in-person, distance, and hybrid learning depending on the local conditions of the virus.

Youth programs that provide care or supervision of children can continue to operate if they can do so safely in accordance with the COVID-19 Prevention Guidance for Youth and Student Programs available on the Stay Safe Minnesota website.

Organized Youth Sports organizations and programs must stop all in-person activities—including practices, group workouts, games, and tournaments.

Organized Adult Sports organizations and programs must stop all in-person activities—including practices, group workouts, games, and tournaments.

Higher education institutions, in consultation with their governing boards, may offer in-person classes or activities consistent with MDH guidelines for offering in-person or on-site activities and programming at higher education institutions. Higher education institutions must follow guidelines available at MDH's Institutes of Higher Education website.

An email from the Governor's office says that small businesses struggling as they do their part to combat the spread of COVID-19 will be able to get a share of $10 million in Small Business Relief Grants. Governor Walz says, "This funding will support an additional 1,000 businesses that have applied for the grant program. It supplements hundreds of millions of dollars in small business support that Minnesota has allocated since the beginning of the pandemic."

With options at the state-level severely limited moving forward, the Governor is pushing the federal government for additional support.

To read the Executive Order, click here.