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Stay Safe: Health officials provide more guidance on small gatherings

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

The end of the Stay at Home order comes with the loosening of guidelines for how many people can congregate at a single time.

Minnesotans have been asked to avoid all contact with those outside their household since the first Stay at Home order was put in place on March 27.

But that will change on Monday, with the new guidelines permitting small gatherings of less than 10 people, including those not in the same household.

However, health officials provided more clarification during a Thursday briefing, cautioning Minnesotans that although small gatherings are now permitted, that doesn't mean precautions shouldn't be taken.

Here are some of the tips they recommend following when meeting with others not in your household:

  • Still practice social distancing, keeping 6-feet apart from each other.
  • Wear face masks.
  • Try to meet outdoors rather than in a confined indoor space.
  • Don't gather if anyone in the group is ill.
  • Don't gather at entrances and exits at the same time, arrive and leave separately (so no Minnesota goodbyes).

MDH State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield also said that particular care should be taken when it comes to elderly neighbors and family members, as well as those with underlying health conditions, given they have proven to be the most at risk of severe complications and death from COVID-19.

"We still are really concerned about our elderly and those with underlying conditions and really do want them to be safe," she said. "People can transmit it before they develop symptoms, we really want to  protect them, and encourage them to stay at home as much as possible."

She also wants Minnesotans to continue reaching out to their elderly neighbors to offer to do shopping for them, and urges people not to have prolonged face-to-face contact with an elderly neighbor.

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