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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Today, Governor Walz announced significant changes to Minnesota’s COVID-19 restrictions. Below are the details from his announcement.

Step one takes place at noon on May 7th. It includes initial steps to relax some restrictions, primarily in outdoor settings.

  • Removes limits for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers, and ends the mask requirement outdoors except at large venues with over 500 people.
  • Eliminates the state-established mandatory closing time for bars, restaurants, and food and beverage service at other places of public accommodation.

The second step begins on May 28th. The remaining capacity and distancing limits will come to an end, including for indoor events and gatherings. The requirements that will remain include:

  • Face coverings indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people.
  • There will be no new safety requirements for businesses, though they must maintain their plans to keep their employees and customers safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided only by a minimal universal state guidance document.

 The third step ends the statewide mask mandate and takes place once 70 percent of Minnesotans age 16 years and older get at least one dose of the vaccine, but no later than July 1st:

  • The remaining face-covering requirement and the requirement for preparedness plans will end. Work on vaccines will continue, and local jurisdictions and entities may set their own mask policies.

Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but Governor Walz continues to insist that he maintain emergency powers.

It is more than clear that the COVID “emergency” is over. House Republicans have voted more than a dozen times to end the peacetime emergency, and have put forward numerous proposals to end or modify the Governor's Chapter 12 powers, as well as proposals to establish timelines and metrics that would end the peacetime emergency. 

Democrats have refused to advance those proposals in the House, and have even stonewalled proposals from their own party to wind down the Governor's emergency powers.

Governor Walz needs to end the emergency powers and work with the legislature as a co-equal branch once again. The Governor should not use the Emergency Powers as an end-of-session bargaining chip — emergency powers are meant for emergencies, not to be used as political leverage. 

Staying in Touch

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.

Have a great day,

Glenn

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