COVID-19 restrictions rolled back

Minnesota aims to eliminate mask mandate by July 1


Ayelet Prottas

Sophomore Kamryn Halley walks to class May. 7. The mask mandate in Minnesota is planned to be lifted July 1.

Tobias Khabie and Jacob Khabie

After Gov. Tim Walz announced rollbacks on COVID-19 restrictions, freshman Noah Leventhal said although the roll backs may be a little too early for his liking, he is overall pleased.

“Since most people are getting the vaccine now, it’s a good idea,” Leventhal said. “Maybe (Walz) could wait a bit longer until more people have the vaccine, but I’m excited about (the rollbacks).”

In a press conference May 6, Gov. Tim Walz announced a three-step plan to roll back COVID-19 restrictions within the coming months. The first step, which will be implemented at 12 p.m. May 7, will eliminate restrictions on capacity and distancing for outdoor events — as well as  for gatherings of under 500 people, no masks will be required. Indoor gatherings will also allow up to 50 people and mandatory closing times will be lifted.

The second step, which will be implemented May 28, will consist of eliminating all state COVID-19 restrictions, both indoors and outdoors. According to Walz, masks will still be required indoors and for large outdoor events, and businesses must continue implementing plans to keep customers and employees safe. 

The third and final step, which will be implemented July 1, will eliminate the long-standing mask mandate. Businesses and local jurisdictions will still be allowed to keep mask requirements in place. According to Walz, this step of the plan could be put in place prior to July 1 if 70% of Minnesotans over the age of 16 are vaccinated. 

According to freshman Sophia Journey, she feels the move to roll back restrictions is appropriate and has little concern for the potential risks of lifting them.

“At the current rate at which we’re vaccinating people, especially high-risk people, I’m less concerned,” Journey said. “Also the fact that we’re going into summer means that we can be outdoors; I’m more optimistic about how things will play out.”

Freshman Silas Cowell said he would have liked to see Walz delay rolling back COVID-19 restrictions in order to ensure safety.

“(We should wait) a little bit longer until everybody has availability for vaccines,” Cowell said. “Honestly, as long as everyone is safe, that’s all that matters.”

Junior Nathan Hausladen said he was ecstatic to hear about the rollbacks, as he said enough people are vaccinated for restrictions to be lifted. 

“It’s the perfect time because there’s plenty of vaccinated people now. People in general are happier,” Hausladen said. “A lot of people are gonna be happy, and I’m happy about the role backs because I’m sick and tired of these restrictions. 

According to Walz, while Minnesota is on the home stretch of dealing with COVID-19, Minnesotans still need to be cautious.

“We can now confidently and safely set out our path back to normal,” Walz said in the press conference May 6. “Don’t blow this. We’re here. Let’s win this thing.”