The big news this week is the governor extended the stay-at-home order to May 18. It had been set to expire this Monday. The governor’s extension does provide some new opportunities for retail businesses to open, with restrictions. The main change is that retail and other non-critical businesses may begin offering curbside pick-up.
It is good some businesses can see the added benefit of curbside service but it’s not the kind of relief from the governor’s restrictions people are desperate for. People need to earn a living, but we have seen growing numbers of businesses permanently shutting down because of being forced to close their doors. They have developed plans to re-open while also keeping their customers safe, but are still unable to do so.
It is hard to imagine how much more financial hardship will be suffered during at least two more weeks of restrictions. The governor and his administration should work with any industry that remains closed and offer a clear timeline when they can expect a decision. That, at the very least, would help their planning.
House Republicans are in constant contact with employees, employers, agencies, and the governor's office making real efforts to help Minnesota businesses safely reopen their doors. And, all House Republicans voted again earlier this week to allow the legislature to work with the governor on future actions to fight COVID-19 and let businesses safely reopen their doors so people can get back to work.
Unfortunately, that proposal once again was blocked and, until that changes, the reality is the governor’s emergency powers will remain in place.
While there was news regarding some stay-at-home restrictions, we also were hoping for modifications of the executive order on elective medical procedures. Dozens of House and Senate Republicans sent a letter to Gov. Walz earlier this week, asking him to lift restrictions on health care providers. We apparently will have to wait a little longer for more on that important subject, but here is a way you can provide input:
The Minnesota Department of Health has assembled draft guidance that will help inform the next steps. Draft guidance will be available online through noon Saturday (May 2) to solicit feedback and input before final guidance is issued. The draft guidance and public comment survey can be accessed here.
Look for more as things develop in St. Paul. Stay healthy and, as always, let me know what I can do to help.