Tuesday a.m. update: Bars, restaurants, gyms must close

Good morning and welcome to a new normal in Minnesota. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

Sunny and calm, until the night. Twin Cities highs in the lower 40s during the day, but a 50 percent chance of snow and lows in the lower 30s a night. Statewide highs during the day range from lower 30s to mid-40s in most places, with a chance of snow or rain across most of the state in the evening. More on Updraft. | Forecast

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Bars, restaurants, gyms and other venues must close to dine-in guests by 5 p.m. Tuesday. That’s Gov. Tim Walz’s most recent order to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Grocers, convenience stores and pharmacies may stay open.

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The closures will last until Friday, March 27 — at least. “I don’t see a situation … where there wouldn’t be an extension on these dates,” Walz said.

No gatherings of more than 10 people, says the White House. President Trump is recommending all people in the U.S. also avoid discretionary travel in a new set of guidelines he unveiled Monday. They last for at least two more weeks.

"It seems to me if we do a really good job ... it could be July, August" before the pandemic lets up. That’s from Trump, who has increased the severity of his response after criticism from public health officials and Democrats.

Minnesota has confirmed 54 cases of COVID-19, but testing is sparse. That number is increasing every day, as have health care professionals and patients’ frustration over limited access to coronavirus tests. “It is possible that I do have the virus, considering my travel history and symptoms, but without the test, I am not being accounted for,” Victoria Granger, 24, told reporter Catharine Richert after experiencing respiratory symptoms following international travel. “I fear that this outbreak is so much bigger than is being reported because people like me are not being tested.”

If you’ve lost work due to the coronavirus, you may apply for unemployment. Workers may apply for benefits if they’ve lost work or had hours reduced due to coronavirus, if they have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it, or if they have been away from work caring for sick family members or due to being quarantined.

Apply for unemployment benefits ASAP. Delaying could mean you wind up losing some benefits, says the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Donations and volunteering can help those in need during the outbreak. Tim Nelson reports on how those who are able can help others with everything from food to supplies to logistics.

Parents: There are plenty of ways to keep your kids learning and engaged during the school closures. Virtual events and learning offer myriad education options, and I wrote about some of them here. And for some more community, join our parenting Facebook group.

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