Vikings bar fans from final games as virus deaths hit record

The Minnesota Vikings say they’ve given up on trying to host large crowds and instead will close the four remaining home games to fans

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have given up on trying to host larger crowds and said Wednesday that the team will close the remaining home games to fans, as the state blew past its record for new deaths in a day.

The stands were empty for the Vikings’ first game of the season. The last three home games had 250 or fewer invited family members of players and staff in the lower bowl.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Minnesota — an important measure of how fast the virus is spreading — has nearly doubled over the past two weeks from just under 7% on Oct. 27 to nearly 13% on Tuesday, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.

“This is just inevitable. If we do not change our behaviors and take some mitigation efforts, this will continue to spike.” Gov. Tim Walz told Minnesota Public Radio earlier Wednesday as he previewed the new figures.

A day earlier, Walz warned Minnesotans that the state was approaching the worst phase of the pandemic and that conditions would get dramatically worse unless people start changing their behavior. He announced new restrictions aimed at slowing the accelerating spread of the coronavirus. Bars and restaurants must stop serving at 10 p.m., but can still offer takeout and delivery, and attendance at weddings, funerals and social gatherings will be limited. Those new restrictions will start to take effect Friday.


Associated Press sports writer Dave Campbell contributed to this story.

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