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Reopening state

Gov. Tim Walz is dialing back on the COVID-19 stay-home restrictions. Starting Monday, more retail businesses will be able to open, if they have plans for employee and customer safety and social distancing. People will be able to go out of their homes for more reasons. Groups of ten or less will be allowed to gather, including for religious services

But bars and restaurants, hair salons and barbershops and gyms won’t be able to open until June 1, and they will be limited on how many they can serve at one time.

Many people are cheered by this loosening of restrictions, and there does need to be a balance between placing everyone in quarantine and doing business as usual. But people should remember that the danger is still out there. Daily updates from the Minnesota Department of Health still show the number of active cases climbing and the number of deaths holding at about 20 per day.

Brown County marked just its second death from COVID-19 on Thursday. As tragic as one death is, we should consider ourselves fortunate that it isn’t worse. It is through the efforts of local people to practice social distancing and the sacrifices of our local businesses who have endured the shutdown order that our rate of infections and deaths is low.

We hope people will keep practicing what we have learned in the past month or two about staying safe, social distancing, wearing face masks, washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick. It won’t take much to spark an outbreak.

The state recognizes that loosening the restrictions will lead to an uptick in the number of infections and deaths. We must do what we can to keep those numbers as low as possible.

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