Minnesotans can now begin safely gathering with more friends and loved ones, supporting Minnesota’s small businesses, and visiting large venues.

Last week Gov. Tim Walz announced new measures that went into effect Monday as Minnesota continues to make progress in vaccinations and slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Everyone should still continue to take simple steps to protect the progress made so far in beating COVID-19. “Our vaccine rollout is leading the nation, the most vulnerable Minnesotans are getting the shot, and it is becoming increasingly more safe to return to our daily lives. The sun is shining brighter,” Gov. Tim Walz said.

A recent report states that more than one million Minnesotans and nearly 60 percent of educators, school staff and child care providers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As we reflect on the past year and the thousands of lives lost, we know that every shot in the arm of a Minnesotan brings us one step closer to ending this pandemic,” Gov. Walz added.

The measures include:

• Social gatherings: up to 50 people outdoors or 15 people for indoor gatherings, both without household limits.

• Youth sports: pod size increasing to 50 for outdoor activities.

• Religious services: remove occupancy limit, but social distancing required.

• Celebrations: follow venue guidance.

• Bars and restaurants: increasing allowable occupancy to 75 percemt, up from 50 percent, with a limit of 250 people. The limits apply separately indoors and outdoors. Bar seating increases to parties of 4.

• Salons/barbers: removing the occupancy limit, but social distancing required.

• Gyms/fitness centers/pools: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50 percent, up from 25 percent. Outdoor classes can increase to 50 people.

• Entertainment venues: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50 percent, up from 25 percent, both indoors and outdoors, with a limit of 250.

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