Gov. Tim Walz sent a letter to the campaigns of Joe Biden and President Donald Trump ahead of their visits to Minnesota Friday, urging them to comply with the “state’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.”
Trump will be in Bemidji Friday night for a “Great American Comeback” rally while former Vice President Biden plans to stop by a union training center in Duluth.
“While we welcome the opportunity for Minnesotans to participate in democracy, we ask that your events comply with our state’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. Partner with us in the fight against COVID-19,” Walz said in a letter to both campaigns earlier this week.
Under Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan, Walz said the campaign events must not exceed 25% capacity, or 250 people.
“You may be able to increase total attendance if you choose a venue with multiple event spaces with separate capacity limits, as long as you limit each separate space to the lesser of 250 people or 25% capacity,” Walz wrote. “Attendees must maintain social distancing of at least six feet at all times, including when entering and exiting the event. Face coverings are required indoors and strongly encouraged outdoors.”
The governor said the COVID-19 rules are the “best way to protect one another, allow our children to attend school, and keep our economy open.”
“COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to Minnesota. Over 1,900 Minnesotans have died from the virus, including more than 200 in the past month,” he added. “Please demonstrate that you value Minnesota by protecting the health of our communities.”
Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis filed a lawsuit against Walz earlier this year because the governor’s executive orders hindered Lewis’ ability to campaign. The lawsuit received its first hearing in federal court Thursday.
“The overreach from these unprecedented lockdowns didn’t just mean economic hardship and favoritism, it’s threatened our most basic liberties, including the fundamental right to travel and meet with friends and neighbors or even go to school,” Lewis said in a statement. “Our action served as a notice on the state that it too has limits on its power, especially when its arbitrary actions encroach on the freedoms and economic security of Minnesotans.”