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Walz: Further easing of COVID restrictions will be announced soon

This could include increasing the capacity at sporting events.
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Gov. Tim Walz said he expects to announce a further easing of COVID-19 restrictions within the next week.

The governor made the comment during a media call at a mobile vaccine site in Richfield Tuesday, and said the changes he is set to make could include loosening capacity restrictions, such as at sporting events.

Currently, outdoor sporting venues are permitted to have a crowd that is 25% capacity above 500, up to a cap of 10,000 fans, while indoor arenas are allowed to have 15% of capacity and a cap of 3,000 if spectators are sitting, and 10% with a 1,500 cap if standing.

There also remain restrictions in place for indoor dining at restaurants (75% capacity) and at gyms (50% capacity).

But changes seem to be on the way, with Walz's comment coming on the same day that the CDC announced that vaccinated people don't need to wear face masks while outdoors, albeit it said they still should when mixing in large crowds.

Walz said an announcement is expected to be made during the early part of next week, saying after the recent spike in cases and hospitalizations due to the more contagious U.K. variant spreading in the U.S., there are now signs that cases are plateauing.

He said Minnesota is moving back to normal, saying "you can be in restaurants, in movie theaters, we have kids in school, we're doing most of those things, the next moves are capacity limits coming off and some of those types of things."

At the same time, he cautioned that mask-wearing will remain hugely important going forward to keeping cases low, saying that masks and vaccines are the best way to get through the pandemic.

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