Gov. Walz loosens coronavirus-related restrictions on restaurants, gyms, churches, entertainment venues

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday he is loosening more coronavirus-related restrictions on Minnesota businesses. 

Walz announced Phase III of his Stay Safe MN plan, which will allow restaurant indoor dining, fitness centers, swimming pools and entertainment venues to reopen at a limited capacity on next Wednesday, June 10. 

Stay Safe MN Phase III: What’s reopening, what's now allowed

Places of worship, salons and barbershops will also be allowed to increase their capacity to 50 percent. 

The overall maximum occupany for any indoor or outdoor place remains at 250 people, which Walz said is to prevent fairs, concerts or other big events from happening.

"This puts us as one of the more open states," Walz said. 

Walz also eased restrictons on social gatherings. Indoor social gatherings will be allowed to take place with 10 people or less and outdoor social gatherings can take place with 25 people or less.

READ NEXT: How Minnesota's Stay Safe plan changes from Phase 1 to Phase 4

The state entered the second phase of reopening on Monday, June 1. Under Phase II of the governor’s Stay Safe MN plan, restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen for outside dining only, salons and barbershops could reopen at 25 percent capacity and campgrounds could resume operations with measures in place to ensure social distancing. 

As of Friday, Minnesota has reported 1,148 deaths from COVID-19 and 26,980 total positive cases. 

The rate of new cases and deaths has not grown nearly as fast as state officials initially feared. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said he was "glad" for the latest round of reopenings but said Walz needs to immediately end all restrictions.

"The point is, we’ve got to get over the fear of this virus," Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, told reporters Friday morning. "Don’t micromanage every single thing that people have to do. People are tired of the mandates."

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Economic Commissioner Steve Grove, Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington joined Walz at the 2 p.m. press conference.