Gov Extends Stay-at-home Order

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(Learfield News Service/St. Paul, MN)  Governor Tim Walz has extended his stay-at-home order until May 4th, including for bars and restaurants. The governor says some other businesses could be allowed to re-open with proper social distancing, however, “I will not sacrifice the health of Minnesotans and the gains that we’ve made. These hard-earned gains and fights and sacrifices can be lost virtually overnight if we don’t do this right.”

House Deputy Republican Leader Anne Neu says she’s encouraged about Walz giving badly-needed flexibility to lawn care workers, golf course maintenance, garden centers and the like, but “right now it’s a blanket approach and then roll back one-by-one. …[That’s] really tricky ’cause there are a whole lot of businesses that could be safely operating, and so we need to figure out perhaps a more streamlined way to do that.”

The governor contends current measures are working, and that Minnesota has flattened the COVID-19 curve more than any other state. “We bought some extra time… [and] it is still entirely possible,… I think with the work I’m asking you to do,… for us to avoid the overflowing of the hospitals.”

Neu says there needs to be more flexibility to allow more businesses to re-open safely. “Minnesotans get it,” she says. “We are practicing social distancing and trying to keep people safe. And along with that, we need to balance what is happening to our work force, to our small businesses, to the economy.” Walz says his administration will work with stakeholders on short-term plans to help more businesses re-open: “Protocols based on social distancing and best practices, that doesn’t change the progress that we’ve made, doesn’t put people at risk to exposure, but allows us to re-open some of the industries that were not considered essential the first time.” Neu responds, “I understand the need that we have to balance public health, but we need to balance that with common sense and compassion.”

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