St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Tim Walz has announced non-essential retail businesses will be allowed to reopen on Monday.

While the governor stressed that we are not "flipping a switch" and returning to normal, he has announced that previously closed retail businesses will be able to reopen as long as they restrict their operations to 50-percent of capacity and have safety plans in place to enforce social distancing. In making the announcement, Walz said the Stay at Home order will be replaced by what he called a Stay Safe order.

Walz also announced the lifting of restrictions on small social gatherings. He says the change clears the way for family get-togethers and other events involving fewer than 10 people practicing social distancing. The existing restrictions on bars, restaurants, hair salons, barbershops, and a variety of other businesses remain in effect, but the governor indicated there is a possibility those businesses could be cleared to reopen on June 1st with restrictions if conditions remain favorable.

State of Minnesota
State of Minnesota

The governor likened the moves to adjusting the dials and stressed that restrictions could be quickly reinstated if COVID-19 activity begins to spike. He urged Minnesotans to continue taking precautions to protect themselves, their families, friends, and those vulnerable to severe sickness from the new viral illness.  Walz says high-risk individuals should remain in their homes to minimize their exposure to the new coronavirus and encouraged those able to work from home to continue doing so.

In his address from the state Emergency Operations Center, Walz thanked Minnesotans for the sacrifices they made to buy the time needed to prepare the state's health care system to handle the still growing number of people becoming ill from COVID-19. He says the ICU and PPE capacity is now in place, but he also stressed Minnesotans still need to practice social distancing, wear masks, and stay home if possible to keep the spread of the virus at a "simmer."

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