Democrat Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz implemented new coronavirus restrictions banning all social gatherings with members outside of one’s immediate household for the next four weeks, even if residents wear face masks and practice social distancing.
The extreme restrictions went into effect last Friday and will last until Dec. 18, according to Walz, who also ordered bars, restaurants, gyms, theaters, bowling allies, and other entertainment-based businesses to shut their doors, according to the Minnesota Post.
All other businesses, including barbershops, retail stores, and salons, must operate at 50% capacity.
“Social gatherings are groups of people who are not members of the same household, congregated together for a common or coordinated social, community, or leisure purpose – even if social distancing can be maintained. This prohibition includes planned and spontaneous gatherings as well as public and private gatherings. Most commercial activities are not considered social gatherings, so this change will not impact most industries,” the Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement.
Residents caught violating these restrictions could face up to $1,000 fines or 90 days in prison.
Businesses caught violating the lockdown could face even harsher penalties, according to Walz’s order.
“Any business owner, manager, or supervisor who requires or encourages any of their employees, contractors, vendors, volunteers, or interns to violate this Executive Order is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $3,000 or by imprisonment for not more than a year,” Walz’s order reads. “In addition to those criminal penalties, the Attorney General, as well as city and county attorneys, may investigate and seek any civil relief of up to $25,000 per occurrence.”
In response to the restrictions, dozens of Minnesotans gathered outside Walz’s house in protest, waving American flags while chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
The crowd hung pictures of dictators on Walz’s fence and some held signs declaring that they would hold Thanksgiving dinner with their families anyways.
Anti-lockdown/mandate protest at Governor Walz mansion in St. Paul Minnesota
(Credit: Mercado Media) pic.twitter.com/tNJ9HWLdGS
— Kitty Shackleford (@KittyLists) November 21, 2020
Some more of the signs at the protest of Gov. Tim Walz pic.twitter.com/bv2ipyOJUx
— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) November 21, 2020
Some of the signs outside the governor’s mansion: pic.twitter.com/jqpT0ciodZ
— Anthony Gockowski (@AGockowski) November 21, 2020