In an interview with The Star Tribune, Governor Tim Walz set the first standards for possibly lifting Minnesota’s emergency executive orders. His statement didn’t promise total relinquishment of his executive powers.
According to Walz, under 20 percent community spread and 4 percent test positivity rate would give Minnesota “a really good chance of doing most things.” The governor balked when questioned whether some of the restrictions were too harsh. Walz stated that his state has endured COVID-19 better than many states.
Walz also stated his regrets for not issuing a statewide mask mandate earlier. The governor said that the state has been enduring a long, steady increase of cases.
“This isn’t even a plateau. This is the world’s largest mesa, it feels like. It’s just gone on,” he said. “What that’s done is, it’s allowed us to have indoor dining, it’s allowed us to go back to school, it’s allowed us to do a lot of things – but not at 100%.”
Walz’s discernment between essential and inessential activities caused pushback amongst Minnesotans. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis filed suit against Walz, stating that the executive orders unduly inhibited his right to campaign. Lewis claimed that the orders caused an unconstitutional travel ban due to threats of fines and jail time for attending campaign events pushing state-established capacity limits.
Public trust in COVID-19 information is shaky following the news of Nashville, Tennessee Mayor John Cooper’s falsifying case tracing information. Cooper’s administration enforced the shutdown of downtown bars and restaurants after blaming them for a majority of coronavirus cases. In a series of leaked emails between Cooper’s office and health department employees, true reports found that around 22 cases were attributable to bars and restaurants. The thousands of cases blamed on the downtown stemmed from construction and nursing homes.
Pandemic shutdowns in Minnesota have caused over 150 businesses to close permanently.
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