Publish date:

Stay at Home: Are Minnesotans cutting back on social distancing?

There's been an apparent increase in activity despite the Stay at Home order.

While state leaders have thus far lauded Minnesotans' efforts in sticking to social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus, there have been signs that fewer are adhering to the rules.

The question was put to health officials during Monday's COVID-19 media briefing by the Star Tribune's Jeremy Olson, who noted car traffic stats that were 28 percent below normal this past Sunday, having been 68 percent below normal two Sundays prior.

This, combined with increasing numbers of reports and pictures showing groups of people gathered outdoors around Twin Cities parks and lakes, suggest that after around 6 weeks of partial lockdown, some Minnesotans are getting stir crazy.

The problem has been noticeable in Minneapolis, which is shutting down its playgrounds and sports courts from May 1 onwards because too many were failing to keep their distance and were breaking rules regarding playing sports with people outside their household.

A major factor in the change is the fact that spring has finally arrived and brought with it the first bout of decent weather in months, but Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said that residents should be wary about breaking social distancing rules.

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to make a decision this week on whether his Stay at Home order will end on May 4 or be extended with modifications, and on Tuesday Minnesota posted its highest number of positive COVID-19 tests yet, while its death toll has just passed 300.

"We are having conversations about that and we certainly understand with the nice weather returning and people eager to get out and move around more, we know it's going to be a challenge," Malcolm said.

"But in order for us to make incremental progress forward towards the time where we can open up more businesses and open up more room for social interaction that's going to be a process," she continued, adding: "Our ability to move forward is going to hinge significantly on people continuing to really keep the Stay at Home message in the forefront and to adopt those personal behaviors that we talk about so much when we are out."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Despite a Stay at Home order being in place since late March, the Walz Administration has loosened restrictions on more than one occasion regarding what businesses and outdoor recreation facilities are allowed to open.

On Monday, restrictions on certain non-customer-facing commercial and industrial businesses were lifted, potentially paving the way for up to 100,000 people to return to work, while golf courses and marinas have been allowed to open as spring arrived.

Nonetheless, Malcolm says that Minnesotans should continue to keep their outdoor activities confined to places near to them, so as not to potentially contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in areas with fewer resources.

"It's great to get outside and get some in the fresh air but we still need to be mindful of social distancing and if you have to go out stay close to home, getting out should be for those essential activities and for those safe encounters, safe recreation near your home," she said.

Next Up

Tina Smith

Sen. Tina Smith warns Dems she may not vote for budget bill if climate plan dropped

This comes amid a White House effort to get its "Build Back Better" plan passed.

Pixabay - emergency room ambulance hospital

St. Paul man dies six days after crash on I-94

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has identified the man as David Rodney Hardaway.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Double murder in northeastern Minnesota, suspect kills himself after chase

The suspect died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

chaska school fight

Anti-masker involved in school board meeting fight charged with assault

It happened last month at an Eastern Carver County Schools hearing.

Marcus Foligno

Marcus Foligno throws hands, scores game-winning goal in Wild's opener

The Wild forward scored with 7.2 seconds left to beat Anaheim.

Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 10.01.55 PM

Large police presence at Emagine Willow Creek movie theater in Plymouth

There are few details at this stage as to what has happened.

Maple Grove Police Department

Maple Grove-based businessman convicted of fatally shooting wife

Wiseman owns properties in both Minnesota, Nevada and China.

betty and earls biscuits facebook

Jason Matheson's biscuit shop to briefly close ahead of relaunch

Betty & Earl's will shut down for two weeks before reopening under a new name.

Simon Merino Go Fund Me

Worker dies in forklift accident at paper recycling business

The victim was described as a loving father of two who was devoted to his church.

rosie means - go fund me

Authorities ID woman killed by hit-and-run driver who ran red light

A fundraiser was created to support the family after the "sudden and senseless loss."

Prior Lake Football

Watch: Prior Lake stuns Rosemount with last-second hook and ladder

The Lakers dusted off an old favorite to get a victory on Thursday night.

unsplas - maple leaf frost fall lawn

MN gets its first frost advisories, freeze warnings of the season

The coldest spots could dip to below 30 degrees overnight.


coronavirus, masks, covid-19

With end of Stay at Home, Walz puts responsibility on Minnesotans

He is imploring Minnesotans to stick with social distancing guidelines.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Gov. Walz: 'If you're going to protest, social distance'

The governor also provided a response to President Trump's latest tweet.


Coronavirus: MN releases new guidance for camping, outdoor recreation

The lifting of the Stay at Home order allows for more outdoor recreation.

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Stay Safe: Health officials provide more guidance on small gatherings

Gatherings of 10 or fewer people will be permitted from Monday.

Governor Tim Walz

Coronavirus: Gov. Walz to provide update in Thursday press conference

He is expected to announce an extended, but loosened Stay at Home order.

Tony Evers, Wisconsin governor

Wisconsin to allow retail stores to re-open, with strict customer limit

It's the latest 'turn of the dial' on Gov. Tony Evers' Stay at Home order.