Some Minnesota COVID-19 restrictions relax Monday, sports resume

Some of Minnesota’s COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed Monday. 

Gov. Tim Walz’s most recent executive order eased some of his coronavirus-related restrictions, allowing a limited restart for youth and adult sports and group fitness classes in January. The governor’s ban on indoor dining at bars and restaurants, however, remains in place for at least another week. 

Walz is expected to announce later this week whether he will allow those restrictions to expire. 

Youth and adult sports resume practice 

Starting Monday, adult and youth sports can resume practice, but everyone participating must wear a face mask at all times with a few exceptions for certain sports, like wrestling and gymnastics. 

No more than 25 people will be allowed at practices and no spectators are allowed. Games can resume on Jan. 14. 

The Park Center High School girls' basketball team welcomed the announcement. 

"I couldn't wait to get done with online school today just so I could come here," said Adalia McKenzie, a senior on the team. "It's really good being back. I missed them." 

Coach Barb Metcalf says her team really "need each other" and the socialization that comes with sports. 

"I don't see it as bad, that bad, but it's almost suffocating, but it's not that bad," said Chloe Cink, another senior, about wearing masks while she plays. "If we're able to play basketball, then it shouldn't matter." 

Upstairs on the mat, Coach Justin Miller was excited to get the wrestling team back to work, too. 

"It gives the kids a sense of purpose. It gives them something to look forward to," he said. 

Wrestlers, swimmers, gymnasts and cheerleaders are not required to wear masks while they are playing or performing because the state says they are a safety concern in those sports. 

"It's pretty easy to get through," said Victor Perez Mesa. "Just wear the mask when you come in and when the coach tells you to." 

Through all of the changes, most are just excited to get back, no matter what it looks like. 

"Every practice, every game that we have this year is truly going to be a gift," said Metcalf. 

Group fitness classes resume

Gyms and fitness centers are already open at 25% capacity, but group classes can resume on Monday. People will have to stay 12 feet apart and masks must be worn the entire time. 

Swimming pools reopen 

Swimming pools, closed since the end of November, can now reopen for some activities including lap swim, lessons and organized sports. 

Bars and restaurants remain closed for indoor dining, for now

Bars and restaurants remain closed for indoor dining for at least another week. 

Republicans want Gov. Tim Walz to make a decision as soon as possible on whether indoor dining will be allowed to resume so businesses have time to order supplies and schedule employees. 

Walz is expected to announced later this week whether those restrictions will be allowed to expire. Before the holidays, Walz said he was optimistic about easing restrictions.