Publish date:

Walz: Announcement on fans at professional, high school sports coming in 'days'

Walz says the state will be more confident to share details on loosening restrictions later this spring.
Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz plans to announce new COVID-19 guidance for professional sports teams in a "very short amount of time," as little as "days."

The governor said during a news conference Tuesday getting so many people 65 and older vaccinating so quickly has moved up his timeline for reopening businesses and allowing fans at sporting events, both professional and high school.

But, he said, the COVID-19 variants continue to complicate things and the state is trying to "balance this race on the vaccine versus a variant going up." 

The state on Tuesday reported 40 more cases of the B117 variant tied to a cluster in Carver County that's linked to youth sports and fitness facilities, Walz said, noting he's watching the variant data closely.

Walz stressed the importance of continuing to wear masks and get tested to ensure the data continues to trend in the right direction, calling a spike in the state's positivity rate on Tuesday an anomaly.

"We feel much more confident about giving guidance after say the first of April, but certainly the first of May or first of June," Walz said, adding they want people to know restrictions for this summer so people and large venues are able to plan for weddings, concerts, etc. 

Walz added, "We're going to know in the next month" or "3-4 weeks" where the state is headed with the pandemic and what type of restrictions will be in place come Aug. 1.

But determining where we're going to be in early April is trickier, with Walz citing a comparison University of Minnesota's Dr. Michael Osterholm made to a hurricane. Right now we're in the eye of the storm, and it could dissipate or it could worsen, and we should know soon. 

Walz said he spoke on Monday with the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota United about having fans at home games for their upcoming seasons (the United begins in March and the Twins home opener is April 8), acknowledging the teams need to know how many tickets they can sell to fans and the state wants to "give them that certainty" based on the science and economic impact. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

"We need to get this out to them so they have time," Walz said, noting Dave St. Peter with the Twins asked for 30 days, which they're at. 

He also said it's important for them to figure out how to allow fans to watch the upcoming state high school tournaments, adding "We're trying to figure out how to do that as safely as possible [and] get that guidance out."

Meanwhile, Minnesota Republicans on Tuesday held a news conference to call on Walz to lift capacity restrictions and allow increased attendance at professional sporting events amid the decline in COVID cases across Minnesota, asking the governor to share this new guidance now and not wait. 

Republicans have been critical of the governor since the start of the pandemic for waiting too long to make announcements about business restrictions, saying it doesn't give businesses enough time to plan to reopen.

Next Up

John Hofer - Chisago County Sheriff's Office

Murder charge filed over inmate's death at Chisago Co. Jail

The man suddenly became unresponsive and died while in a holding cell.

reproductive rights caucus

Minnesota DFL lawmakers form Reproductive Freedom Caucus

The move comes as some Republicans explore proposals to limit abortion access.

Flickr - child wearing mask close up - Nenad Stojkovic

Counties without K-12 mask mandate see sharper rise in child COVID cases

That's according to a new study released Friday by the CDC.

Police lights

Bloomington woman dies in crash on southwest Twin Cities highway

The collision happened just south of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival grounds.

Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

Pfizer booster shots immediately available for select Minnesotans

118 fully vaccinated Minnesotans have died from COVID-19.

Gisela Medina Sherburne County Jail - 2021.09.23 - crop 2

19-year-old charged alongside Anton Lazzaro pleads not guilty

She's accused of helping the GOP operative traffic underage girls.

Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook misses Vikings practice on Friday

Cook suffered an ankle injury during the Cardinals game.

GetMedia (1)

Gallery: Historic church renovated into home is yours for $248,000

The church-turned-home offers an open floor plan in the heart of Howard Lake.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen  - YouTube screengrab

MN GOP Rep. spreads voted fraud disinformation, draws rebuke from SoS

The lawmaker cited a video claiming there are more than 1.2 million "missing" votes.

st. paul shooting

Witnesses help identify suspect in St. Paul shooting

The shooting happened near a gas station and bus shelter Thursday just before 1 p.m.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, September 24

The next update will be issued on Monday and include data reported on Friday.



Watch live: Walz details next steps in COVID-19 vaccination plan

Earlier Tuesday, Walz shared two more groups are eligible to get the vaccine, starting Wednesday.

covid, vaccine

Walz: COVID-19 vaccines for young teens expected to open this week

Gov. Walz said parents should be able to make appointments for their kids later this week.

Tim Walz

Walz talks schools, sports, ramping up testing in Monday interview

Walz says molecular diagnostic testing could see a boost within days.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

90% of MN schools now offer in-person learning, 55% of teachers vaccinated

Gov. Tim Walz had set March 8 as the date for when schools would be expected to offer in-person learning.