Some Republican lawmakers were disappointed in Gov. Tim Walz after he announced Wednesday that his stay-at-home order will be extended until May 4.
The new order includes some modifications to allow certain industries to return to work, but keeps the mandated closure of bars and restaurants in place through the rest of the month.
A full list of critical industries exempted from the order can be viewed in section six of Walz’s updated executive order.
“We are taking this seriously, and we are staying home. While Minnesota is showing lower rates of infections than our peers across the country, now is not the time to let up or allow that trajectory to change,” the governor said in a statement. “Updated federal guidance and our own public health experts are showing that if we keep staying home, we will save lives – which is why I made the data-driven decision to extend the Stay Home Order until May 4.”
But after two weeks of sheltering in place, some Republican legislators think it’s time for Minnesotans to return to work.
“Governor Walz’s announcement to extend the ‘stay at home’ order is seriously disappointing for our local and small businesses. We know that many industries can operate in a safe manner according to the CDC guidelines. This blanket order does not fit our largely rural state,” said Sen. Andrew Mathews (R-Princeton).
“The governor mentioned items in his announcement that were brought up by me and other GOP Senators as good options for re-opening, like boat repair and storage shops, golf courses, and others. Instead of saying ‘Here’s my plan,’ his announcement today amounted to ‘We’ll keep looking into it.’ We cannot afford inaction,” he continued.
Mathews said Walz should allow business owners to “do the planning” instead waiting for the “state to micro-manage each industry.”
Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), chair of the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee, said he remains “deeply concerned about this shutdown’s continued negative effects on our economy.”
Instead of blanket classifications of businesses as “essential” or “non-essential,” Pratt thinks the state should start looking at whether or not businesses can safely operate.
“As we approach the light at the end of this tunnel, surely there must be a way to balance the health of Minnesotans with beginning to bring our economy back online,” he added. “One of the biggest assets of small businesses are their ability to adapt to changing demand. Let’s recognize that flexibility and match it with our own innovative solutions.”
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said on Twitter that he does not “approve of the governor’s unilateral decision to continue the order to shelter at home until May 4.”
“We have to get on with our lives,” he said.
I do not approve of the Governor’s unilateral decision to continue the order to shelter at home until May 4th. We have to get on with our lives.
— Paul Gazelka (@paulgazelka) April 9, 2020
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Sign About Canceled Shows” by Lorie Shaull. CC BY-SA 2.0.