Republicans Have Heard from More Than 1,600 Minnesotans on Plans to Reopen Economy


Minnesota’s Senate Republican Caucus said it received more than 1,600 responses in just two days from small business owners across the state on their ideas for how to safely reopen the economy.

The Republican Caucus created a new online portal Wednesday for “businesses and workers to share feedback on reopening Minnesota’s economy.”

“It’s time to begin the lengthy process of reopening our economy and getting people back to work in a safe manner,” said Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake) (pictured above), chair of the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee.

“Gov. Walz has directed his administration to determine which businesses and workers can return to work, provided they follow ‘appropriate social distancing, hygiene, and public health best practices.’ Senate Republicans are encouraging individuals and businesses from across Minnesota to go to our online portal and let us know their plans to safely resume operations,” he added.

By Friday, the online portal had received more than 1,600 responses on how to open Minnesota back up for business. Republicans said the top category of responses included some variation of opening “all,” “any,” and “everything.”

“They are some of the cleanest environments compared to what’s open. These guys take pride in how clean and professional they do stuff in,” a tattoo artist from Aitkin told Republicans.

A salon owner in Chaska said her company could resume business by allowing “only one client per technician” in the shop and distancing “chairs a minimum of six feet apart.”

“Gloves are disposed of after each client. Since many of these technicians are self-employed, they are especially hard hit,” she added.

A retail jeweler from Fergus Falls noted that all jewelry is under glass and “any piece touched is ultrasonic cleaned and sterilized.”

“We will distance families from each other and provide hand sanitizer and use caution for distributing any sacraments. We also will disinfect between services. We have plenty of space to gather in,” added a pastor from Finlayson.

Republicans said over 100 of the 1,600 respondents expressed concerns about reopening the economy too fast.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said he was encouraged by Gov. Tim Walz’s decision to reopen some outdoor businesses, but said “Minnesotans are ready to open many more industries.”

“We need to trust our citizens, churches, non-profits, and business owners to operate in a safe manner following all of the CDC guidelines,” he said. “The stay-at-home order is achieving its goal of preparing for a surge and now it’s time to save our economy and way of life.”

Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes) said in a statement that the main reason for the stay-at-home order “was to allow hospitals time to prepare and purchase supplies.”

“While we need to stay focused on the disease, we need to begin thinking about and discussing the road map back to normalcy,” he said. “It is more than just jobs, more than economics, it’s about people’s lives and livelihoods.”

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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 “Sen. Eric Pratt” by Minnesota State Senate.







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