Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced on Wednesday a rigid month-long lockdown order that bans all social gatherings of people who do not live in the same household, even if participants wear face masks and practice proper social distancing. On Saturday, Minnesotans went to Walz's mansion to protest the drastic lockdown orders.
Walz's severe new coronavirus restrictions, which went into effect on Friday at 11:59 p.m. and will be in place until Dec.18, will shut down bars, restaurants, and breweries, except for takeout, delivery, or walk-up service, according to the MinnPost. The order will also close gyms, indoor sports facilities, theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, go-kart tracks, and other entertainment businesses for an entire month.
Retail businesses, barbershops, and salons are permitted to stay open, but may only operate at 50% capacity.
All youth, high school, and adult sports leagues are prohibited for the next four weeks, but college and professional teams are exempt from the order.
In one of the most extreme measures ever implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota will have draconian measures regarding social gatherings.
From the Minnesota Department of Health:
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 harsh restrictions come with punitive penalties, including fines of up to $1,000 or 90 days in prison.
"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 states. "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.
The stringent restrictions were not welcomed by many Minnesotans, and some who demanded freedom protested against the new lockdowns outside of Walz's mansion in St. Paul. Many protesters waved American and Trump flags outside the Minnesota governor's residence while they chanted: "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
The crowd hung signs of infamous dictators from history on the fence of the property. Others held signs that dared Walz to arrest them for attending a Thanksgiving gathering with their family.
A car parade protest drove by the governor's mansion and honked their horns.
The crowd also sang "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)."
Anti-lockdown/mandate protest at Governor Walz mansion in St. Paul Minnesota (Credit: Mercado Media) https://t.co/tNJ9HWLdGS— Kitty Shackleford (@Kitty Shackleford)1605986895.0
Some more of the signs at the protest of Gov. Tim Walz https://t.co/bv2ipyOJUx— Alpha News (@Alpha News)1605993878.0
Some of the signs outside the governor's mansion: https://t.co/jqpT0ciodZ— Anthony Gockowski (@Anthony Gockowski)1605991382.0
Car parade to protest Governor Tim Walz https://t.co/NnDgip1po4— Alpha News (@Alpha News)1605988999.0
Large crowd outside Gov. Tim Walz's house sings "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" https://t.co/2nRbBT9R9B— Anthony Gockowski (@Anthony Gockowski)1605992192.0
Earlier this week, Walz stated, "I'm not going into someone's home on Thanksgiving. But if you're gathering with a lot of people not in your family on Thanksgiving you are really speaking volumes about what the values are here in Minnesota."