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Minnesota's Democratic governor is limiting church attendance more strictly than restaurants, with no justification
Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Minnesota's Democratic governor is limiting church attendance more strictly than restaurants, with no justification

That doesn't seem fair, or logical

Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz announced changes to the state's COVID-19 restrictions, and although restaurants will have expanded ability to serve customers next month, churches will not, according to the Washington Examiner.

Beginning June 1, tattoo parlors and salons will be allowed to partially reopen, and restaurants will be able to serve up to 50 customers at a time on outdoor seating. Churches, however, will still be limited to gatherings of 10 people or fewer — and the governor hasn't clearly explained why.

Under phase 3 of the governor's reopening plan, Restaurants can serve up to 50 people outdoors as long as the social distance of 6 feet is maintained. Masks will be required of workers and "strongly recommended" for customers.

For churches under phase 3, no more than 10 people can gather, regardless of whether the gathering is indoors or outdoors. The inconsistency raises a simple question: Why can 50 people gather outside at a restaurant, but only 10 people can gather outside at a church?

The guidelines for phase 4 are also more stringent for churches than restaurants. In phase 4, up to 20 people can have an indoor gathering at church, and up to 100 outdoors with social distancing. The only guidance for restaurants in that phase is "Indoor dining with capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements."

Walz reportedly said there is "not a perfect answer" to explain the difference between people gathering in a restaurant and at church. He referenced the issue of "predictability" as a reason for the difference, but then seemed to undermine that argument by noting how predictable church attendance is.

"I think, and I'm hearing strongly on this, of trying to figure out how we make that happen because I think the logic behind it, and I think, again, it was the predictability of who's there," Walz said, according to the Washington Examiner. "But I think you could argue, 'Boy, I see the same people every Sunday at my congregation and, in fact, the Smiths sat in the same pew every year for 30 years, so we know exactly where they're at and we know exactly where they are."

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