Maggie Klaers

Point-counter-point: Controversy over loosening COVID-19 restrictions

Gov. Tim Walz announced new restrictions for Minnesota

December 18, 2020

Loosening restrictions is risky


While Gov. Tim Walz begins easing restrictions on fitness centers and other businesses, the new order, taking effect Dec. 19 and lasting until Jan. 11, is unnecessary. Walz’s decision to expand guidelines on social gatherings, while simultaneously having bars and restaurants under strict restrictions simply does not make sense. 

Although the restriction will only last for four weeks, the fate of Minnesota’s COVID-19 increase will be determined at that time. The lives of many are at risk due to the instability of this decision.  Minnesota officials on Wednesday reported another 92 COVID-19 deaths, extending an already awful December — 982 deaths posted in the first 16 days of the month, atop more than 1,100 deaths recorded in November

The share of Minnesotans who wear masks most or all the time in public has increased from 86 percent in September to 94 percent, according to survey data reported by Carnegie Mellon University’s COVIDcast. While taking that into account, it’s understandable Walz made the decision to reopen bars and restaurants with a limit. However, it’s inexplicable for the allowance of outdoor dining to occur when the state reported 67 more COVID-19 deaths on Saturday. 

We are still at a very vulnerable place. Reopening key hotspots just when Minnesota started its downward trend is too soon and unsafe. In those four weeks, too much can happen to gamble with the lives of many. If Walz thought people wanted a matrix of rules and guidelines to follow to reopen, he’s severely mistaken. It’s not only employees who are to be affected by this matter but customers too. 

Even with the “solo workout model” Walz plans to expect in fitness centers, he needs to consider the amount of human contact one can experience in a gym beforehand. Those include using a locker room that has already been in contact with several others and reusing gym equipment. Yes, the model could work, but to what expense? 

This all leads to one question, will these four weeks bring more harm than good? Granted that the outcome proves itself to be more damaging than Walz expected, it will become even harder for the state to control the already haunting virus.


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Easing restrictions is beneficial

Easing restrictions is beneficial

Gov. Tim Walz announced Dec. 16 he will lessen COVID-19 restrictions on bars, gyms and youth sports but will extend restrictions to Jan. 11, meaning indoor dining is not permitted but outdoor services are allowed.

With COVID-19 still on the rise, it seems to be the best idea to keep any and all restrictions in order, but for the sake of people’s mental health, lessening restrictions would be very beneficial. 

Minnesota is not ready to open up completely, but with everyone being in lockdown for nearly a year and its effect on mental health, COVID-19 restrictions should be loosened. 

From mid-March to early December, according to the Mayo Clinic, people have experienced symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression and have even increased bad habits to try to help cope. This is due to the lockdown and the fear and stress of COVID-19. With fewer restrictions implemented, people are able to go out and interact more with the world to help with their mental health.

There are numerous people that go out to places as an outlet because their homes may be toxic for them. Having the ability to go to and do things people enjoy could ultimately change the circumstances people are in.

Another valid reason for a lessening on COVID-19 restrictions would be for people to have a place to be when being at home becomes too much. Lots of teens and parents can struggle with staying home all the time. When they’re struggling, they need to have an outlet to feel some sort of peace so they aren’t in a constant state of stress or depression.

The loosened restrictions also affect will businesses. Since the updated restrictions allow for some venues to open up at 25% or 100 people maximum, this can help with not only preventing cases from increasing but can help businesses out of hiatus.

Although this decision will cause an overall positive impact, it’s best to remember we are still in the midst of a pandemic and have safety guidelines to follow. As we slowly transition back to normal, we still need to acknowledge that we are dealing with a deadly pandemic and need to deal with it properly.

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