North Dakota Movie Theaters To Reopen But Not Music Venues, Schools
(Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP) – Doug Burgum
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announces the death of another resident due to COVID-19 at his daily briefing on the pandemic, Friday, April 10, 2020 at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said Wednesday that he’ll allow movie theaters to reopen with precautions but will keep other large-scale venues and K-12 schools closed until further notice.
Burgum said this week he intends to lift restriction s on most businesses beginning Friday, saying the state has made significant progress in its effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The plan to ease restrictions includes limiting bars and restaurants to half-capacity, requiring barbers and cosmetologists to wear face masks and prohibiting some high-intensity fitness classes.
Burgum added the movie theaters to the list of businesses that may reopen if they limit seating to 20% of capacity, stagger start times and “allow for proper spacing.”
But Burgum said he was not ready to allow such things as sports arenas and large concert venues to open.
“Were trying to avoid having the really large gatherings as we dial back up the amount of interaction and potential spread and potential risk,” he said.
The Republican governor issued and executive order on March 16 closing all public and private K-12 schools in the state. Schools have been holding classes remotely and Burgum has said the schools closed by his executive order will not have to make up the instructional time later this school year.
Burgum said some “guidance” on schools reopening could come as early as Friday but he did not give specifics. He said his office has been working with lawmakers, school administrators and teachers’ unions.
“For right now, continue to work on distance learning and let’s make that as great as it can be — keep trying to optimize that path for right now,” he said.
Dickinson State University on Wednesday said it plans to resume in-person teaching this fall after switching to online classes this spring during the coronavirus outbreak
University administrators agreed unanimously at a cabinet meeting Tuesday to plan to return to regular face-to-face teaching in fall 2020. The school says precautions will be taken for the safety of students, faculty and staff.
North Dakota has 11 public universities and colleges. University system spokeswoman Billie Jo Lorius said Dickinson State is the first school to signal it would resume classes. She said others likely will follow.
The North Dakota Department of Health on Wednesday reported the number of people in the state testing positive for COVID-19 has surpassed 1,000. Health officials said 42 additional people tested positive for the coronavirus since Tuesday, bringing the state total to 1,033.
The new figures Wednesday include 20 in Cass County, which includes Fargo. Grand Forks County, where an outbreak led to the shutdown of a wind turbine plant, had 16 on Wednesday, up from three the day before.
The number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus in North Dakota remained at 19, with no new deaths reported Wednesday.
A record 28 people were hospitalized Wednesday in North Dakota, up three from Tuesday. More than 25,500 people have been tested for the coronavirus in North Dakota, including 1,813 since Tuesday.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.