COVID-19 MN Updates

ALERT: Business hours and operations may be slightly different due to the impacts of COVID, so please check directly with your hotel, restaurant, bar, shop, event, or attraction before traveling.

Restaurants, Retail Shops, Salons, & Hotels ARE OPEN in Minnesota!
Masks are recommended for those who are not fully vaccinated or
businesses who choose to continue to protect the safety of their staff and customers.
Nearly all capacity restrictions, party size limitations, and distancing requirements have now been lifted!!!
Happy Summer.


Hello Stillwater Fans,

The Minnesota Governor and State Health Commissioner are strongly recommending temporary community social mitigation measures in response to the outbreak of respiratory virus COVID-19 that was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. They are encouraging “social distancing” at work and in public places. Click HERE for the current guidelines and executive orders for Minnesota as they change often. Below are highlights that affect your visit to Stillwater, Minnesota.

Most Current Minnesota COVID Announcement:

May 27th, 2021:

  • Minnesotans are rolling up their sleeves, getting their vaccines, and returning to the people we love and activities we miss. If you need to get a vaccine, find a provider near you on our COVID-19 vaccination page
  • As COVID-19 cases recede and more people get their vaccine, we can confidently and safely set out our path back to normal. 

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:

  • Businesses and other venues must have plans that keep their employees and customers safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided only by a minimal universal state guidance document that includes no new requirements.

May 6th, 2021:

  • Governor Walz will hold a press conference at 12:00 noon today to announce a three-step process that will lead to an end of COVID-19 restrictions by May 28, and an end to the masking requirement when 70% of Minnesotans 16+ are vaccinated – and by no later than July 1.

    Step One: On May 7, start with initial steps to relax some restrictions, primarily in outdoor settings. This will:
    *Remove limits and distancing requirements for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers, and end the mask requirement outdoors, except at events with controlled access over 500 people. So unless you’re in a very large crowd at a formal event, you don’t need to wear a mask when you’re outside.
    *Increase occupancy and group size for all indoor activities and events.
    *Provide recommendations for fairs, parades, and other outdoor celebrations to highlight best practices to stay safe and make summer in Minnesota great.

Step Two: On May 28, the Friday before Memorial Day, other limits, restrictions, and requirements will come to an end, including for indoor events and gatherings. Three requirements will remain:
*Face coverings indoors and for the largest outdoor events with controlled access.​
*Businesses will have plans that keep their employees safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided by a simple universal state guidance document that will include no new requirements.​
*Key consumer protections will remain in place.

Step Three: Once 70% of Minnesotans aged 16+ get their vaccine – but no later than July 1 – the remaining face covering requirement and the requirement for business preparedness plans will end. While critical work on vaccines will continue, no requirements will remain.

“We can see the end of this pandemic, but we are not quite there yet. We will take concrete steps to keep Minnesotans safe while we get the vaccine to more people.”

Past Minnesota COVID Announcements in chronological order:

  • February 12th – as of Saturday, Feb. 13th, changes include increasing the cap on total guests in restaurants, entertainment venues, gyms, and pools to 250. It also extends the closing time for restaurants to 11 p.m. Capacity at wedding receptions and private events will increase to 50.
  • January 6th – Due to continued declines in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in Minnesota, the 8 week shutdown will end soon, so as of Monday, January 11, the following can open with these restrictions under the Stay Safe Plan. Thank you for remaining diligent as we all do our best to protect one another. PLEASE BE PATIENT with businesses as all of these constant changes are difficult to navigate. Don’t assume everyone is open today as each business as their own plan for how best to handle this complex world. It’s best to check with the restaurant or attraction’s social media or web pages first to make RESERVATIONS before your visit.
  • Bars and restaurants can open at 50% capacity, with a maximum of 150 people. Parties of no more than six people must remain six feet from other parties; bar seating is open to parties of two; RESERVATIONS are required; and establishments must close by 10 p.m.
  • Gym capacity remains capped at 25% but maximum capacity increases to 150. Machines and people should maintain 9 feet of distance. Classes increase to 25 people, assuming distancing can be observed. Everyone must be masked.
  • Outdoor events and entertainment continue at 25% capacity, but maximum capacity increases to 250 people. Social distancing is required.
  • Indoor events and entertainment – like bowling alleys, movie theatres, museums (in Stillwater Axe Throwing, Escape Room, Studio Painting) – may open at 25%, or no more than 150 people. Masks required. No food service after 10 p.m.
  • Youth and adult organized sports have resumed practice as of Jan. 4 and games resume Jan. 14 with spectators. Inter-region tournaments and out of state play are discouraged.
  • Pools opened Jan. 4 for some activity and may now open, like gyms, at 25% capacity. Pools and hot tubs at hotels and spas will be able to open.
  • A mask mandate remains in place for indoor public spaces, and Minnesota continues to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people from two households indoors or 15 people from three households outdoors so this applies to venue rentals for weddings/meetings.
  • December 16th Minnesotans will be asked to continue the stay home order for 3 more weeks (through Jan 11th, 2021) via the Stay Safe plan. Executive Order 20-103.
  • Bars, restaurants, breweries, indoor entertainment remain closed through January 11.
  • Restaurants can open for outdoor dining only, 50% capacity, must be seated with max 4 people per table.
  • Gyms can open at 25% capacity, 100 max capacity. Masks required.
  • Outdoor venues can open at 25% capacity, 100 max capacity.
  • Indoor gatherings discouraged.  However up to two families and 10 people inside allowed; 3 families and 15 people outside.
  • November 18th Beginning Friday, November 20 at 11:59p.m., Minnesotans will be asked to stay home for 4 weeks (through Dec. 18th) via the Stay Safe plan.
  • All bars and restaurants will end dine-in service and operate exclusively with takeout or delivery.  Up to five customers at a time may be inside the establishment to pick up orders.
  • Fitness centers will be closed.
  • Adult and youth sports practices and competitions will be paused (professional and collegiate sports will continue).
  • Weddings, funerals, and other similar planned ceremonies can be held with the current rules in place, but all indoor/outdoor events, receptions and gatherings around these ceremonies must be canceled or postponed.
  • Data has shown that activities where masks are always worn are safer, so retail capacity is actually increasing to 100%. Hotels remain open as well.

Holidays and celebrations

The most significant and perhaps most challenging restriction comes at a difficult time. The holiday season is difficult for many under normal circumstances. During COVID-19 it will be even more challenging. This time of year is when some gather with extended families, distant friends, and other special people in our lives. But this year should be different.

  • Minnesotans should not gather with anyone outside their immediate household, whether indoors or outdoors. 
  • During the next four weeks we are also asking that no person outside of the immediate household be brought into your home, except if certain exceptions apply. 

Within these guidelines is the opportunity to celebrate with those you already live with, but in order to protect our most vulnerable Minnesotans, we are urging you to reconsider any gathering that bring people of different households together.  Governor Tim Walz’s Executive Order: More about the Dial Back, Minnesota Executive Order 20-99.

  • November 10th Beginning Friday, November 13 at 10:00 p.m., restrictions will apply to social gatherings, celebrations and receptions, and bars and restaurants, which are three of the most significant sources of COVID-19 outbreaks across the state.  

Beginning Friday at 10:00 p.m.: 

·         There will be a 10-person limit for indoor and outdoor gatherings, and all social gatherings will be limited to members of three households or less.  

·         Restaurants and bars must be closed from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. with a capacity cap of 150 patrons total, including both inside and outside settings, and table size will be limited to 10 people with strong guidance to keep it to no more than three households or less. Bar counter service will be closed for seating and service in all establishments besides those that only have counter service. In counter-service only establishments, patrons can line up (with masks) and then return to their table. 

·         Patrons at bars must be seated, and there are no bar games allowed such as darts and pool. If an establishment offers pull tabs, they must be offered in a socially distanced queue.  

·         Capacity limits for receptions related to celebrations and milestone events, including weddings, funerals, birthdays, reunions, anniversaries and private parties in venues will be limited to 50 total people starting November 27, and 25 total people starting December 11. Celebrations must end at 10:00 p.m. This does not apply to the ceremony itself, since data has not shown a connection between services and the recent increase in outbreaks. 

·         All current restrictions also remain in effect. Masks are required when indoors or when unable to socially distance outside.

For more information, you can view the executive orderFAQ (under “Dial Back Announcement”) and the updated guidance.   You can also join DEED and the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Labor and Industry for a webinar on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. 

We know that dialing back is challenging for hospitality and our economy. The hope is that by specifically targeting these dial backs on where the outbreak data shows us the challenges lie, we can turn the tide on this spread rather than engaging in broader shutdown measures that so many other states have engaged in.  

  • March 13th – encouraging gatherings of more than 250 people and events where the venue can’t accommodate the 6ft social distancing.
  • March 15th – Restricted to events of 50 people or more.
  • March 16th 2:30pm – Restricted to 10 people homes and public spaces.
  • March 16th 5:30pm – Governor has ordered all bars, restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment, spas, gyms, bakeries, golf courses, museums, etc. to close by March 17th at 5pm. The status of shops is based on each individual owner, but many are closing for now. Hotels are still open, but pools and restaurants on site closed. This is a temporary closure until March 27th (now extended to May 4th).
  • March 25th 2:00pm – Governor announced two week “Stay at Home” order starting March 27 at midnight – April 10th at 5pm. Retail shops will now close temporarily as well (grocery exception). The Governor also today issued executive orders extending the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations set forth in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08 until May 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Hotels are still OPEN and restaurant take-out IS allowed. Trails, parks, outdoor exploration IS allowed. Most shops and attractions are closed.
  • April 8th – Governor extended the #stayathome order until May 3rd at 11:59pm (executive order 20-33). The Governor’s order to stay home is forecasted to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow the state to make key preparations for the pandemic. These preparations include building hospital capacity, increasing access to life-saving equipment like ventilators, increasing testing, planning for how to care for vulnerable populations, and assessing public health data to determine which community mitigation strategies are most effective.
  • April 17 – Allowing for safe outdoor recreation, MN Governor issues Executive Order 20-38 for individuals to engage in any outdoor activity that is dependent upon or derives its principal benefit from natural surroundings and open space, including but not limited to hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, hiking,biking, golfing, and picnicking for the purposes of pleasure, rest, exercise, or relaxation, provided that the activity can be engaged in accordance with the Outdoor Recreation Guidelines, including maintaining at least six feet of separation between participants from different households.
  • April 17 – “Temporary to-go beer and wine sales in Minnesota will become reality Saturday after the Minnesota Legislature approved a measure to let restaurants sell some liquor alongside food while they remain closed to on-site diners during the state’s coronavirus emergency. The Senate passed the measure Thursday and Gov. Tim Walz signed it after the House approved it Friday. The new off-sale rule will take effect Saturday. Restaurants and bars that serve food will be able to sell up to one bottle of wine or the equivalent of a six-pack of beer, cider or hard seltzer with food orders.” source: Star Tribune
  • April 30 – Stay at home order extended to May 18th. Retail businesses can do curb-side pick up or delivery.
  • May 12th – The stay at home order ends May 18th and retail businesses can reopen then as well with a social distancing plan and at 50% capacity. Restaurants, bars, breweries, salons, gyms, churches, etc. must remain closed. The state is working on an re-opening plan with a hopeful date those industries can reopen on June 1st.
  • May 20th – Restaurants, bars, breweries, and wineries can re-open June 1st but only for outdoor dining and at reduced capacity (max 50 people). For safety, there must be 6′ between tables and social distancing rules in place. Party size of 4 total or 6 if a family. Reservations required. Require workers wear masks. Strongly encourage customers to wear masks too (help protect the workers).  Those without outdoor spaces: asking municipalities to be creative to help makeshift outdoor dining work. Hair and nail salons may also open June 1st at 25% capacity, masks for stylists and customer required, and by appointment only.
  • June 5th – Starting on June 10, the Stay Safe Order turns the dial to open: Indoor social gatherings with up to 10 people; outdoor social gatherings with up to 25 people. Restaurants and bars for indoor service at no more than 50% capacity, with reservations required. Personal services such as salons, tattoo parlors and barbershops may increase occupancy rates to 50%, with appointments required. Places of worship may increase occupancy rates to 50%. Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, and martial arts centers may open at 25% capacity. Seated indoor entertainment venues such as theaters and concert halls may open at 25% capacity. Recreational indoor entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, arcades and museums may open at 25% capacity. Outdoor entertainment venues such as sporting events, concerts and theaters may open at 25% capacity. Public gatherings of all types may not exceed 250 people in a single self-contained space, and attendees should still adhere to proper social distancing measures like staying six feet apart and wearing a mask.
  • July 22nd – A message from the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Governor: “Your mask protects me, my mask protects you. Wearing a mask can protect others from #COVID19. As of Saturday, July 25th masks are required state-wide when indoors or unable to social distance. (full details here). Let’s work together to slow the spread. Remember, people with certain health conditions may not be able to wear a mask, so we need to stay 6 feet apart, too!”
  • October 8 – Effective today, the Minnesota Department of Health released updated guidance increasing the table size for restaurants and bars. The guidance includes the following specific points: Limits party size in dining rooms to 10 people. Limits party size in bar areas to 4 persons. Requires patrons in all areas to be seated. The change to parties of 10 or fewer, while continuing to social distance at least six feet between tables, will allow restaurants more flexibility to optimize space as they serve customers. Minnesotans have a strong sense of the common good. They know that taking commonsense health and safety steps help to slow the spread of COVID19, and in turn save lives. This change to allow more people at a table or in a party is based on this strong sense of personal responsibility to our community and, we are confident that Minnesotans – young and old – will do the right thing to keep themselves and others safe.

As a result of these restrictions, many events in Stillwater are cancelled or postponed, so we encourage you to check directly with the venue to determine status of events before traveling. Your health and safety are very important to us. Please know that businesses are also taking extra sanitation measures to clean surfaces and follow current protocols.

Our downtown restaurants, pubs, shops, hotels and attractions are vital to the local tourism economy, so for healthy individuals we encourage you to do what you can to support local small businesses during this time. Many local businesses are offering online ordering, shipping, or curbside pick-up services for shops and restaurants. Several restaurants also have outdoor seating with heaters. The Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce is doing the “Great Valley Take-Out Rally” by pulling together a list of business that offer take-out or delivery, so stay up to date here.

Here’s a list of shops that have online shopping available:

Purchase salon & beauty products online as well or inquire about curbside pick-up or local delivery:

Check shops social media pages or e-newsletters as well as many offer a call in order and shipment from an item you saw featured or possibly curbside pick-up or local delivery.

We love the idea of purchasing gift cards as gifts for someone in need or for yourself in the future. We hope you plan to re-book your hotel stay or event ticket for a future date, too. Please follow us on Facebook or Instagram as we share creative ideas from our local entrepreneurs.

As you spend this time in isolation, think ahead to future events and celebrations. When it’s time to plan events again, know that we offer a beautiful destination with several types and sizes of unique venues and stunning new hotels. Tour venues from your computer! View 360 tours and the complete list of all of our amazing 20+ wedding, meeting & event venues in Stillwater.

Stay positive and dream of the future when the joy of travel returns to our lives. For now, we’ll give you inspiration by sharing photos of Stillwater on social media.

Stay informed with facts from the experts:
Centers for Disease Control
Minnesota Department of Health

We send everyone hope and strength during this time of uncertainty. Working together to protect all, experts say we can limit the spread of this virus and save lives.

If you need a break from all this, find our great trails or historic walking tours and let the stillness of St. Croix River give you a moment of peace. For those living nearby working with kids online schooling, here’s a list of ways to make a visit educational. We will get through this!

~ Discover Stillwater Tourism Board

Discover Stillwater