Governor Tim Walz warned Minnesotans against singing and other high-volume joy lest they infect friends or family with Covid19 as he revealed punishing new rules. Admitting the edicts reeked of killjoy-ism, he still defended them.
Walz attempted to draw a hard distinction between “fun” vocalizations and everyday vocal drudgery, insisting that “the louder you speak, if you’re singing, if you’re playing darts standing next to someone in a crowded bar… it seems like these things shouldn’t be as risky or elevated, but what we’ve seen is that they do do that.”
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“It’s certainly not our intention to demonize any industry or any activity,” Walz said while doing exactly that. “It’s simply important for us to understand…who spreads this thing.” The governor announced a limit of 10 people on inside and outdoor gatherings alike during Thursday’s press conference, explaining that “just because they’re family and just because you know them” doesn’t mean any group celebrating the winter holidays can dispense with social distancing and masks indoors. However, he has at the same time suggested enforcement will be based on voluntary compliance:
Obviously, on this issue, we’re not going into someone’s home and arresting them on Thanksgiving.
Receptions will be further limited to 25 people on December 11 after being cut to 50 people on November 27. Beginning on Friday, all licensed restaurants will end service between 10pm and 4am and permit no more than half their normal capacity (up to 150 people). All social gatherings under the rule are to be limited to members of three or fewer households.
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The governor acknowledged the Puritanical tone of the state’s mandates, admitting “I feel like the guy in Footloose – no dancing, no fun, no whatever.” His comments referenced the musical-turned-film in which a fun-hating mayor bars the residents of an irrepressible small town from dancing, singing, and enjoying themselves in general while the plucky heroes defy his edicts, meanwhile encouraging the whole town to “cut loose” and have fun in spite of authoritarianism.
However, Walz made clear that any resemblance to the story was “not my intention. My intention is to keep you safe so you can all dance a lot longer.”
The new rules include a 10pm to 4am curfew, which Walz defended by claiming the data shows “we’re not just randomly targeting these things” – even though there has been no scientific proof presented that the virus becomes less active during daylight hours. Playing pool or darts or other bar games is also forbidden under the new rules.
Minnesota media claim the virus is being spread “disproportionately” by young people unlikely to die or experience significant complications from it, insisting these are the super spreaders and they’re spreading a virus they’re exposed to during recreational visits to their local bars.
The state has shamed some 117 bars and restaurants for supposedly playing a part in outbreaks, even while admitting that an “outbreak” only constitutes seven people from three or more separate households visiting one venue within a month before experiencing symptoms. The state has claimed it will pay affected businesses with $10 million in pandemic funding, though it’s not clear what hoops need to be jumped through to access that funding.
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