An inspirational message is written on steps in St. Paul's Summit Hill neighborhood on April 19, 2020. Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

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Gov. Tim Walz is loosening social distancing restrictions that were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The “Stay Safe Minnesota” order replaces his stay-at-home order, which expires May 18.

Under the new order, retail businesses will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity and group gatherings of 10 or fewer people, including at places of worship, will be permitted once again.

Restrictions on restaurants, bars, theaters, bowling alleys and venues that attract large crowds will remain.

What businesses will reopen?

Retail stores, malls and other businesses can reopen for in-person shopping if they have social distancing in place for workers and customers and operate at no more than 50 percent capacity at any time.

Can I dine in at a restaurant or go to the gym?

No. Bars and gyms remain closed. Restaurants remain takeout-only.

Can I get a haircut?

No. Salons and barbershops are allowed to sell products for curbside pickup but aren’t allowed to provide services in-shop.

When will restaurants and salons reopen?

Walz has directed his agencies to come up with ways to safely reopen bars, restaurants, barbershops and salons starting June 1. He expects to have guidelines by May 20.

Are group gatherings allowed?

Yes, with limits. Group gatherings of 10 or fewer people, including at places of worship, will be permitted once again. People are still asked to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.

Does this change anything about schools for the year?

No. Distance learning will continue through the end of the 2019-20 school year.

Do I have to wear a mask in public? Or maintain 6 feet of distance from others?

Even as he announced the end of the stay-at-home order, Walz pleaded with Minnesotans to stay smart about being safe. He said he was counting on people to work from home if possible, wear masks out, stay 6 feet from others even when you’re in groups of 10 or fewer and get tested if you show symptoms of COVID-19.

My workplace is reopening but I don’t feel safe. Should I worry about retaliation or losing unemployment?

Walz has issued an executive order to bar retaliation against employees who don’t feel safe in their workplaces. The order says workers would qualify for unemployment, if they felt at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“We have to understand there are going to be situations where people say I don’t believe my store is safe or things are being followed, we want to make sure they will do that,” Walz told reporters.

What happens if there’s a spike in cases? Could restrictions come back?

Walz said that reopening businesses could worsen the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota, and that if he needs to shutter businesses again he will do so.

What questions do you have about the new ‘stay safe’ order?

We’re planning to continue to update this page with answers to your questions about the latest developments in Minnesota’s work to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

This story comes to you from MPR News, a partner with Sahan Journal. We will be sharing stories between SahanJournal.com and MPRNews.org.

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