Skip to main content
Publish date:

Did Governor Walz provide any hints about his looming shutdown decision?

Walz could announce his decision on Monday.
Governor Tim Walz

Governor Tim Walz is expected to decide early next week about ending or extending the partial state shutdown that is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 18. Speaking Friday, the governor gave little in the way of forthcoming details, but he certainly was open about things that are going through his mind. 

Asked if he can reveal anything about the piece of his executive order that bans all in-person social gatherings with people outside of a Minnesotan's immediate household, Walz said: '

"If we can create something where families could gather outdoors – again, this is Minnesota, pretty hearty bunch. People have put in fire pits, they've put in heaters – those are things we're trying to look at and those are things that Health is trying to help us understand," he said. 

So perhaps outdoor social gatherings will again be permitted. 

Asked about allowing bars and restaurants to reopen dine-in service at partial capacity, he was less transparent. 

"There's a whole lot of things we're thinking about. I'm trying to figure that out," he said. "We are trying to consider everything and no decision has been made. I am not comfortable making that decision today because the data is still coming in from the pause." 

Walz says he's listening to the frustrations of business owners who are closed and bleeding financially while also taking to heart the words of despair from exhausted healthcare and frontline workers. He said every time a business reopens without consent it "adds the potential for more people into the emergency room." 

"I had National Guard, firefighters and police say 'make our jobs a little easier, support us, don't do these things,'" Walz said. 

Walz did express hope that help will be on the way for beleaguered businesses from the Legislature, which meets Monday to discuss a financial aid package. He also excoriated the federal government and Congress for failing to pass its own support bill, forcing the state to make its own.

Another possible hint was when Walz said he wants to get kindergarten through fifth-grade students "back to school as fast as possible," though he didn't elaborate on that comment. 

Minnesota is three weeks into Walz's four-week partial shutdown, which has bars, restaurants, fitness centers and other forms of indoor entertainment closed to indoor service. The decision to issue the order came amid Minnesota's biggest spike in cases during the pandemic, leading to a surge in hospitalizations that saw just over 550 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals in late October to a high point of 1,848 on the last day of November. 

Through Dec. 10, the number of COVID-19 patients in Minnesota hospitals has dipped back below 1,500. Despite the good news on the hospital front, there have been 699 coronavirus deaths reported by the state so far in December, putting the month on track to be the deadliest of the pandemic. November featured a state record 1,140 deaths from the virus. 

The number of news cases daily and the test positivity rate have also been dropping, but while Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the past two weeks have been encouraging, case levels are still extremely high. 

"We've all gotten used to these high numbers. We are very grateful that the increases have slowed and come down a bit. It boggles my mind, really, to think that 3,000 cases in a day feels like a good number," she said. "This is still an extremely high rate of virus in the communities."

Malcolm noted that the national standard signal for a virus that is out of control is 10 new cases per day for every 100,000 people. Minnesota is currently at 85 cases per day per 100,000 people, though that has dropped from a high point a couple of weeks ago of 120 cases per day per 100,000 residents. 

"We're still in a very, very vulnerable place," said Malcolm. 

The latest forecast from Sven Sundgaard

Next Up

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.


Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

chad davis arradondo flickr

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo to retire next month

He's overseen the MPD since mid-2017, following the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, December 6

The latest from the state health department.


'Minneapolis, we're coming!!!': Foo Fighters announce rescheduled concert

The previously announced Huntington Bank Stadium was cancelled.

brave new workshop

Brave New Workshop gets new owners in Hennepin Theatre Trust

It is the longest-running satirical comedy theater in the nation.

Screen Shot 2021-12-06 at 8.05.11 AM

Minnesota firefighters mourn sudden death of colleague

Aaron Bidle of the Loretto Fire Department passed away suddenly Wednesday.

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

Snowmobiler goes through the ice on lake near Duluth

Ice thickness varies greatly throughout Minnesota right now.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here's how much snow fell during the weekend winter winter storm

The Highway 2 corridor in north-central Minnesota was the bullseye.


coronavirus, covid-19

MN health leaders: Shutdown 'clearly helped change pandemic's trajectory'

Minnesota health leaders believe the partial shutdown played a key role in slowing the spread.


Asked about restrictions, Walz says Minnesota is in a 'hold pattern'

Meanwhile, the governor of Michigan is urging people to stay home to slow the spread.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz to extend bar and restaurant shutdown through holidays

Walz will formalize plans during a 1:15 p.m. press conference.

Governor Tim Walz

As CDC urges Michigan to shut down, Gov. Walz watches closely

Walz says there are no imminent plans to dial back.

covid-19, coronavirus

Walz indicates more COVID-19 restrictions could be on the way

More targeted mandates are likely on the way, according to Walz.

Tim Walz

Walz suggests dip in COVID cases, hospitalizations shows measures working

"It looks like we're making a difference," the governor said Friday.