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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Friday, November 20, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

On Wednesday, Governor Walz gave a speech to announce new restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. The new restrictions are in response to growing COVID-19 cases in Minnesota and concern about the strain these cases are having on our hospital systems.

As has been the case during the last eight months, the Governor once again refused to work with the legislature and business groups before issuing this new order. Instead, he continues to make sweeping, unilateral executive orders that are having a tremendously negative impact on Minnesotans. Also, there seem to be glaring inconsistencies in what he will shut down and what he will allow to remain open. Health clubs will be shut down for the time being, but he will allow hair salons and barbershops to remain open.

All businesses should be allowed to open, practice safe behaviors, and let the public decide whether to patronize. One size fits all executive orders do more damage than good according to results of increased damage to our children in schools, depression, suicide, and economic damage. The Governor and healthcare officials can make recommendations but allow local control for our schools and businesses. Consider this…casinos can stay open yet legitimate businesses must close or be restricted. This is irrational!

House Republicans have voted at least six times to end the governor’s unilateral rule and to restore the Legislature as a co-equal branch of government, but House Democrats continue to block those efforts. Lawsuits have been filed with the same intent but have failed to get traction in our state’s court system. 

Here are details on the new restrictions:

  • Starting Friday at 11:59PM, bars, restaurants and breweries, are closed to dine-in services and limited to takeout and delivery only. The closures will last for four weeks until December 18th at 11:59PM.
  • Bowling alleys, movie theaters, arcades, museums, gyms, and fitness centers will also be closed starting Friday night for four weeks. 
  • No social gatherings are permitted outside of your household indoors or outdoors. 
  • A pause on indoor and outdoor youth sports starting Saturday.
  • The governor is encouraging Minnesotans not to travel out of state and encouraging Minnesotans to self-quarantine upon their return. This is not mandated but is being strongly encouraged.
  • No wedding receptions, funeral receptions, or other receptions— however church, wedding, and funeral services are still permitted.
  • No new restrictions for retail and personal services like salons, barbershops, etc. 

These new restrictions will have a devastating impact on small businesses in our community. Please do whatever you can to support the restaurants and businesses that give our communities so much. Buying gift cards and ordering food for takeout are just two ways we can help out.

At the state level, I will advocate for solutions that would help businesses survive by using unspent federal and state CARES Act money to help restaurants and other impacted businesses, as well as delaying loan and sales tax payments that are coming due right as they are being shut down. 

The next few weeks will be difficult, but together we will defeat this virus and see our state prosper once again. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns as it relates to state government. I can be reached at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

It remains an honor to represent you and your family in St. Paul.

Have a great weekend,

Glenn

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