Governor Doug Burgum
Portrait of Governor Doug Burgum

North Dakota Slowly Begins To Relax COVID-19 Shutdown

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BISMARK, ND (CelebrityAccess) — North Dakota has become one of the first states to begin to re-open businesses, including movie theaters and churches, but so far at least, not large concert venues.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced that a variety of businesses, including restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms, barbershops, nail salons, massage therapy clinics and tattoo parlors, can re-open their doors to customers, starting on May 1st.

The order contains some guidelines to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including limiting theaters to just 20% of normal capacity, and staggering the start of movies to reduce crowds.

As well, theater operators will be required to provide disinfectant wipes for customers to clean off seats and armrests.

Bars and restaurants can reopen as well but will be required to operate at 50% of capacity for the foreseeable future, with increased spacing between tables, and limits of no more than 10 guests at any one table.

Self-service items such as condiments, straws, cup lids and cups are verboten, and dance floors are to remain closed.

Despite these initial openings, Governor Burgum was not ready to re-open large concert venues and sports arenas at the present time.

“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 during a new conference.

He also emphasized the role the customers of these business will play in a safe reopening process and asked North Dakotans to be “super respectful of people working in those environments.”


Gov. Burgum ordered the state’s non-essential businesses to shut down on March 20th and later extended the order through April. Thus far, North Dakota, which has a population of just 760,000, has seen about 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 19 deaths.

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