St. Paul – Today, Governor Walz announced the stay-at-home order will be extended until May 18. While the governor claimed he was easing some restrictions on small retail businesses by permitting them to conduct limited curbside business in accordance with state guidelines, many legislators and individuals think this offer did too little to ease the burden on many small businesses and basically offered nothing new for most businesses. Representative Jeremy Munson expressed disappointment with Governor Walz's extension to the six week state shutdown.
“We need to end the governor’s shutdown now,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson (R - Lake Crystal). “Nearly 18% of Minnesota’s workforce filed for unemployment because of the Governor’s actions. To put this in perspective, just a few months ago, Minnesota’s unemployment rate was in the low single digits. By June, the unemployment rates in Minnesota are expected to exceed those found at the peak of the Great Depression. Businesses are permanently closing every day. Thousands of Minnesotans do not qualify for unemployment or business assistance.”
Minnesota’s stay-at-home order was previously scheduled to end on Monday, May 4th. In total, 43 states have enacted some type of order. However, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming remain the seven states which have remained open and let their businesses and citizens make informed choices.
Every state that has not issued a stay-at-home order has a lower rate of workers filing for unemployment. South Dakota has seen 7.2% of its workforce on unemployment. “The longer Governor Walz waits to fully open the economy, the worse it will be for Minnesota,” said Rep. Munson. “The numbers, projections, and evidence we are seeing with regards to COVID-19 in Minnesota, do not justify the harm we are causing to people. We need to reopen now. Even Walz’s own modeling data suggests opening the State and protecting only our most vulnerable, would result in the same total deaths from COVID, as continuing the stay at home orders.”
According to the most recent statistics, there have been 62 deaths per million people in Minnesota. The seven states who have not issued a stay-at-home order are as follows: Arkansas – 20 deaths per million, Iowa – 52 deaths per million, Nebraska – 36 deaths per million, North Dakota – 25 deaths per million, South Dakota – 20 deaths per million, Utah – 15 deaths per million, Wyoming – 12 deaths per million.
“Every state that has not issued a stay-at-home order has a lower coronavirus death rate than Minnesota,” said Rep. Munson. “The Governor’s unilateral orders have not saved lives, but may instead be costing them, especially when one considers all the non-COVID related health problems these orders have inflicted. Suicides, depression, abuse, and alcoholism are predicted to rise. People are missing life saving medical procedures, checkups and screenings, all while our local clinics close and healthcare workers are laid off by the tens of thousands. The facts speak for themselves.”
99.25% of all MN COVID-19 deaths are people living in nursing homes or with serious underlying health conditions. The Governor agreed he may consider opening our State if that trend continues. That has always been the trend and the trend continued today. Rep. Munson stated, “We know individuals living and working in nursing homes and congregate care facilities are most at risk regarding COVID-19. Our efforts should be focused there, while educating everyone, rather than using mandates and unilateral orders that take away everyone’s rights.”
Rep. Munson concluded, “If we fail to correct our course, we will see devastating effects and no amount of taxpayer money will fix the problems we are creating. Every time we meet the objectives set by an order, Governor Walz changes the goal. The original goal was to flatten the curve - it's flat. Then it was to build ICU beds - we have hundreds of extra ICU beds. Additionally, the number of needed ICU beds used to justify the original order, is now believed to have been wrong. The modified projections are substantially lower. While changing the goals, the Governor offers only empty, feel-good rhetoric with cute analogies and slogans like, ‘curbside commerce.’ Minnesotans do not need slogans.”
Rep. Munson continued, “Minnesotans do not need emotional games. After learning the CDC, U of MN and even the Mayo Clinic do not recommend wearing cloth masks in public, the Governor admitted the main reason he recommended wearing cloth masks in public was for psychological reasons. Minnesotans do not want to be manipulated. For Minnesotans, the Governor’s cure is worse than the disease, there needs to be a balance where we open the state now, while strategically working to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”