Walz loosens COVID-19 restrictions

Restaurants, places of worship open at limited capacity

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Lilia Gonzales

St. Louis Park Applebee’s restaurant without customers Jan. 10 before Tim Walz lifted bar and restaurant COVID-19 restrictions. Guests were allowed to dine inside Jan. 11.

Molly Schochet

In a press conference Jan. 6, Gov. Tim Walz announced a dial back in COVID-19 restrictions that began Jan. 11. Senior Evie Gutzke said although she is excited to be able to start working again, the loosened restrictions worry her as she works in a restaurant. 

“I obviously totally support opening up businesses again and I think that’s super important for the economy but what’s most important in my opinion is making sure that everyone’s safe,” Gutzke said. “Trying to open up businesses right now isn’t the most ethical thing to do, but it is really important to the survival of most restaurants.”

Trying to open up businesses right now isn’t the most ethical thing to do, but it is really important to the survival of most restaurants.”

— Evie Gutzke

The loosened restrictions allow restaurants and bars to have indoor dining options at 50% capacity, with a 10 p.m. curfew and a cap of six people per table, according to the Star Tribune. Gyms, bowling alleys, museums and movie theaters will also be allowed to reopen with 25% capacities or 150 person maximums while places of worship will be able to open at 50% capacity. 

As almost a full year has passed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, senior Anna Jensen said businesses may have found ways for people to come and remain safe but still worries about public health. 

“Maybe some businesses like movie theaters have a way figured out to make things really safe and show movies for people … but I still just think that people will kind of abuse the new openings,” Jensen said.  

Gutzke said she understands the need for in-person religious services but does think it could be an issue. 

“Sometimes in-person practice is very important and something that people need to do. I understand why it’s 50% because going to a restaurant isn’t needed, but going to your place of worship is definitely needed for some people. So I guess that can be concerning in a way but also it makes sense,” Gutzke said. 

Jensen said she is worried loosening restrictions may give people the idea that COVID-19 is going away and make them feel more comfortable hanging out in big groups. 

“(When) restrictions are lifted a little bit, a lot of people just see it as a green light that things are getting better, things are safe now,” Jensen said. “People will start hanging out with their friends and going and eating in restaurants, and people start to forget really quickly that nothing’s gotten better.”