Gov. Tim Walz announced late Wednesday that he will extend Minnesota’s peacetime emergency order for thirty days.
“Our actions have saved lives, but the threat of COVID-19 remains,” Walz said. “The next stages of this pandemic are going to challenge us – an extension of Minnesota’s peacetime emergency will allow us to protect Minnesotans’ health and wellbeing and continue to respond effectively to this rapidly-evolving situation.”
As a state, Minnesota only has 12,917 cases, which is the 21st most in the country, The COVID Tracking Project data shows. This announcement comes the same day the state tested a record of 6,7000 people in one day, according to CBS Minnesota.
Even though the lockdown order has been extended, Walz is allowing “non-critical businesses, like retail stores and main street businesses” to reopen on Monday. Walz also announced bars, salons, restaurants, salons and gyms will reopen some capacity on June 1.
“Today we announced a cautious, measured turning of the dial toward a new normal,” he said in a Facebook post. “Our Stay Home Order will be replaced with one that encourages Minnesotans to stay close to home and allows retail stores and main streets to safely open.”
The first-term governor told Minnesotans that he is trusting them to make smart choices.
“Wear a mask, stay home if you are sick, wash your hands, and get tested if you are not feeling well,” he said. “We are counting on Minnesotans to take personal responsibility for their own health and the health of their community.”
“We will get through this. We are resilient people with a deep reserve of courage, optimism, and grit,” Walz added. “No matter how daunting the challenge; no matter how dark the times; Minnesota has always risen up—by coming together.”
Once the peacetime emergency extension was announced, members of the New House Republican Caucus criticized Walz’s decision in a statement.
“Governor Walz’s decision to extend the peacetime emergency order is foolhardy, dictatorial, and self-centered. The emergency declaration is the mechanism which gives the governor the ability to issue his executive edicts. However, the governor knows that his executive orders no longer enjoy the consent of the governed. As such, the governor announced that the stay-at-home order will expire on schedule, and businesses will be permitted to operate in an extremely limited capacity. Clearly, the governor still believes he has the almighty authority to suspend our God-given rights. But instead of going full speed in the wrong direction, Governor Walz has now opted to go half-speed in the wrong direction.
Minnesota has been in a lockdown order since late March.
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