State Republicans had some harsh words for Gov. Tim Walz following his announcement of new restrictions on bars and restaurants Tuesday afternoon.
The governor ordered bars and restaurants to close for in-person service by 10 p.m. but his restrictions on private gatherings seem to be hitting Minnesotans the hardest, since the Thanksgiving holiday is just two weeks away.
“The data-driven approach can be used not just to restrict activity, but to re-open safely,” said Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, who argued that the data “should be reviewed to safely resume in-person learning.”
“There is a double standard when you use transmission and super-spreader events as the reason to restrict activity at bars, and community spread as the reason to limit in-person learning. If we’re going to use data-driven decision making, we ought to be using the same data inputs to make decisions,” she added.
Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan had a similar criticism, saying the governor “ignores the data” when it “doesn’t fit his position.”
“From the beginning, Gov. Walz’s models and projections for this pandemic were way off,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal.
“The governor’s lockdown earlier this year was an economic and social disaster. The governor’s policies are nothing more than abject failure after abject failure, delaying the spread until the fall when hospitals are busy with regular seasonal increases in other illnesses. These latest measures are just another attempt to assert his control over everyone. When will he realize he is doing more harm than good?” he continued.
Munson said lawmakers have not been provided with any “empirical data” showing the kinds of restrictions announced Tuesday “even help.”
“As legislators, we are not asking simply for ‘input’ on his decisions. Instead, we demand that Gov. Walz follow the constitutional process of going through the Legislature to enact policy changes. We have three co-equal branches of government. The Legislature is the voice of the people which creates and writes the laws. However, Gov. Walz does not seem to care that he is ignoring the Legislature and shredding the constitution,” said Munson.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said the new restrictions are “another hit to Minnesota bars and restaurants.”
“We’re very concerned for the impact this will have on these business owners and their hardworking employees heading into the winter months, especially with just a few days to plan for the new restrictions,” he said.