Governor Walz approved the restart of the Minnesota high school winter sports season and also decreed that fans can attend, but in limited numbers.

Indoor gyms and arenas must limit capacity to 25% with a maximum of up to 150 people. Up to 250 people can attend outdoor events. The announcement was a part of the loosening of several restrictions designed to counter the Covid pandemic.

MSHSL officials and other essential personnel are not included in the venue limits.

The use of masks will continue to be required.

Fitness centers were also allowed to reopen with a 25% capacity and nine feet required between people on machines. Fitness classes can increase to 25 people, with social distancing and masks required.

A substantial decline in the Covid positivity rate led to the easing of restrictions after a November spike had caused the pause in activities.

The high school league plans to post updated guidance to member schools on its website in regard to spectator limits. Athletic directors and other school officials will be updated at their weekly Thursday meeting. Schools will have control over how to implement the limits.

Controlling crowd sizes will be a challenge in more populous areas when big matchups featuring top teams and athletes draw fans from beyond the school’s normal fan base.

The new guidelines are an increase from the previous allowances in which two mask wearing spectators per participant were allowed.