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Friday, 15 May 2020 00:08

MN Governor Announces Next Phase of COVID-19 Response

Index

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on May 13 announced the next phase of the COVID-19 response in the state.

Citing progress made to prepare for peak of infection, the governor announced a measured, cautious turning of the dial toward a new normal.

 

With the stay-home executive order set to expire May 18, the governor will replace it with an order continuing to encourage Minnesotans to stay close to home but allowing for gatherings of friends and family of 10 people or less.

 

The governor will also open retail stores and other main street businesses if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50% occupancy.

 

“Minnesotans, thank you for your continued sacrifices,” Walz said. “You have saved thousands of lives. You successfully pushed out the peak of this virus and bought our state time to get ready to treat those who fall ill. We know there’s no stopping the storm of COVID-19 from hitting Minnesota, but we have made great progress to prepare for it.”

 

“This is not the time for sudden movements,” Walz continued. “We are not flipping a switch and going back to normal all at once. We are slowly moving a dial and introducing more interaction between people over time. As we take cautious steps forward, it is more important than ever that we protect those most at risk, support workers and all do our part to slow the spread of the virus.”

 

In conjunction with this announcement, the governor signed executive orders to protect Minnesotans most at risk from the virus and safeguard workers.

 

The first executive order strongly encourages Minnesotans at greatest risk of serious illness to continue staying home. The second ensures workers can raise concerns regarding the safety of their work environments without fear of discrimination or retaliation. It also protects workers from loss of income if they refuse to work under unsafe or unhealthy conditions.

 

“As we slowly and cautiously move the dial, we are centering Minnesota workers in our decisions,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “At this moment, worker protections are paramount. Minnesotans with underlying conditions can and should continue staying home to protect their health, and those who return to work can and should raise concerns about the health and safety practices of their workplaces without fear of discrimination or retaliation. That’s how we stay safe together.”

 

Following the guidance of public health officials, the governor announced a preliminary set of health indicators that could trigger a decision to re-impose restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. These indicators will be refined over time as we learn more about the virus and the course of the pandemic in Minnesota. They include the number of COVID-19 tests that can be conducted as well as the rate of increase in:

 

  • Number of new COVID-19 cases
  • Percent of COVID-19 tests that are positive
  • Percent of COVID-19 cases for which the source of infection is unknown

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