ST. PAUL -- Governor Tim Walz Thursday announced a three-step timeline to end nearly all state COVID-19 restrictions by May 28, and end the statewide masking requirement once 70% of Minnesotans age 16 years and older get their vaccine, or by July 1.

The announcement comes as more than 2.6 million Minnesotans have gotten their shot and the state is on track to vaccinate 70 percent of Minnesotans by the end of June.

Image Courtesy of Governor's Office

The three-step process will end nearly all state COVID-19 restrictions by May 28, and end the statewide masking requirement by July 1 at the latest.

Step one takes place at noon on May 7. It includes initial steps to relax some restrictions, primarily in outdoor settings.

• Removes limits for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers, and ends the mask requirement outdoors except at large venues with over 500 people.

• Eliminates the state-established mandatory closing time for bars, restaurants, and food and beverage service at other places of public accommodation.

The second step begins on May 28. Remaining capacity and distancing limits will come to an end, including for indoor events and gatherings.

The requirements that will remain include:

• Face coverings indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people.

• There will be no new safety requirements for businesses, though they must maintain their plans to keep their employees and customers safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided only by a minimal universal state guidance document.

The third step takes place once 70 percent of Minnesotans age 16 years and older – 3,087,404 Minnesotans – get at least one dose of the vaccine, but no later than July 1.

• The remaining face covering requirement and the requirement for preparedness plans will end. Work on vaccines will continue, and local jurisdictions and entities may set their own mask policies.

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