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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Anderson (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, May 21, 2020


With the news being dominated by the coronavirus, please don’t forget about this weekend’s Memorial Day holiday. In-person services, for the most part, have been cancelled. Others are being recorded and available online. Now, more than ever, we need to pause and give thanks for what our veterans fought and died for. We live in the greatest country on earth and owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who went before us.

It’s fitting to take stock of the freedoms we have, because in some form or measure, those freedoms are being limited by the measures employed to limit the spread of Covid-19. The freedom of religion comes to mind, along with the freedom to own and operate a business. Originally, these actions were seen as being for the common good, but as time goes by, frustration has mounted. By allowing some businesses to remain open, while others selling the same product are closed, the government is picking winners and losers.

With the governor’s latest announcement on Wednesday, he once again left many disappointed. Requiring bars and restaurants to be open for outside service only beginning June 1 falls far short of what these folks need to have hope of maintaining their businesses. Many locations don't currently have the space to offer outside service and may need to seek city approval in the form of a variance or conditional use permit to operate in this fashion. And for how long? And will they need to invest in outdoor furniture to make this work?

Here are some bullet points regarding the guidance for the next phases of his Stay Safe MN plan issued by the governor:

  • Restaurants: Outdoor service only, maximum of 50 customers, masks required, six feet distance.
  • Personal Services (salons, tattoos, barbershops): Six feet distance, maximum 25% of capacity, masks required. 
  • Churches: Services of 10 people or less indoors and outdoors, drive-up services allowed. 
  • Campgrounds: Open with guidance
  • Gyms, personal fitness, yoga: CLOSED
  • Entertainment (bowling, movie theaters, arcades): CLOSED 

Then, there are the logistics. Imagine someone just getting their meal served and it starts raining. What do they do? Or what if someone needs to use the restroom? Are they going to be allowed to go inside? And even if this type of service works, operating at 50 percent of capacity will make it difficult to show a profit. And that is what these businesses need after going weeks without any cashflow.

The inconsistencies throughout the governor’s guidance is also a cause for wonder. It doesn’t make sense to allow hundreds of people in the aisles of big-box stores while limiting churches to 10 people, or that salons are allowed to reopen but restaurants are restricted to outdoor service.

This subject is sure to continue developing and I will pass along more as things unfold. For now, please have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend and let me know what I can do to help.



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