On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz released a new set of restrictions on social gatherings after an increase in COVID-19 cases across the state.
Among these new restrictions are limitations on larger events such as wedding and funeral receptions, closing down bars and restaurants at an earlier hour, and limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor social gatherings to 25 people.
Starting this Friday, all bars and restaurants must close their dine-in service at 10 o’clock, due to studies showing that people’s social distancing becomes more relaxed as the night goes on.
The closing of the doors to the bars poses a big question for students who are over 21: what are we supposed to do then?
The new guidelines forcing the bars to close early gives way for students and party-goers to seek out their own places to “have fun”.
When the party-goers were confined to the bars, there was at least enforcement of the mask policy. This was due to the severe fines the restaurant could receive if not following ordinances to a tee. Bouncers were encouraged to walk up and down the bar making sure people were socially distanced and wearing their masks.
So, these same party-goers, who already have difficulty wearing masks and remaining socially distant, are going to be looking for other locations to have a good time.
It is very safe to assume these “other locations” are not going to be models of perfect social distancing. People will be flocking to their friend’s house party, standing shoulder to shoulder, and “forgetting” about the rules.
These new restrictions are likely to not stop partying, just displace them to more unsafe locations.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We, the student population, have the power and ability to change the attitude of how we are handling this virus.
A vast majority of cases in Minnesota are within our age group, and this most likely comes from the perception that the virus does not affect our age group as severely as older people.
But just because we may not be as at risk as others, does not mean that we should put others at risk, just so we can hang out in a big group.
Instead, do Zoom happy hours or party with a small group of people. These large get togethers are where large numbers of people can get infected, who may in turn infect someone at risk.
Students should shame, cancel or call out people for having these big parties. Because these parties are what increases the amount of cases, and puts us closer to having to get locked down completely again, not to mention, put the lives of others loved ones in danger.