What Minnesota's 4-week pause means for social gatherings

Under the new restrictions announced Wednesday from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, all social gatherings are prohibited as part of a four-week pause in response to climbing COVID-19 cases statewide.

  • Gatherings are limited only to members of one household, even if there is social distancing.
  • Impacts both indoor and outdoor gatherings
  • Includes planned or spontaneous events
  • Includes private and public gatherings

This is a departure from previous guidance which had set the gathering size limit at 10 people.

The state of Minnesota released this graphic Wednesday to show what businesses and activities will be dialed back as COVID-19 cases surge statewide. (Office of the Governor of Minnesota)

The new order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday. The order is set to expire on Friday, Dec. 18 at 11:59 p.m.

In a release, Walz said the state is at a "breaking point," as hospital beds fill up and case numbers spike across the state. 

"While these actions mean incredible hardship for many, they are the fastest way to recover our economy, keep our kids in school, and get back to the activities we love," Walz said. 


  • Activity by workers or customers
  • Educational and care services for children
  • Care of others
  • Relocation to ensure safety 
  • Health and safety activities - Example: donating blood or delivering medical supplies
  • Sobriety and mental health support groups - remote meetings are encouraged whenever possible
  • Health care and residential facilities
  • Displacement - Those without a home are exempt from the order, but are encouraged to avoid gatherings
  • Moving to a new residence
  • Legislative or government meetings
  • Court activities
  • Federal activities
  • Drive-in gatherings
  • Weddings, funerals and services - While the ceremonies can continue, virtual alternatives are encouraged. However, receptions or private parties are prohibited.