I hope this letter finds you well. The big news from St. Paul this week centers on the stay-at-home order, which was set to expire Monday. The governor announced he is once again extending it, this time until May 18. His extension does include some added leeway for retail businesses to open ... with restrictions.
The main change is that retail and other non-critical businesses may begin offering curbside pick-up. The governor indicates this will allow up to 30,000 more Minnesotans back to work.
While more curbside service is a step forward, it is not enough. We know that by taking extra precaution and implementing new distancing procedures, we can open up businesses while still placing a premium on health and safety. People are becoming more and more desperate to get back to work and two more weeks of restrictions is only going to make the situation even more dire.
Small-business operators have even been at a further disadvantage because their large competitors have been able to keep their doors open. Our Main Street proprietors are the backbone of our economy and deserve the same level of trust being provided to the big-box types.
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 by the majority.
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. I hear from many in my district who are in great pain because of delayed surgeries. We simply must open our hospitals now to help end their suffering. In the meantime, 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The Minnesota Department of Health has assembled draft guidance that will help inform the next steps. Draft guidance will be available online through noon Saturday (May 2) to solicit feedback and input before final guidance is issued. The draft guidance and public comment survey can be accessed here.
Action on processing plants
With the closure of multiple meat processing plants in Minnesota and across the Midwest halting production, a number of Republican state lawmakers sent a letter to President Trump urging immediate action to prevent major disruptions to our food supply, farm bankruptcies, job losses, and devastating impacts on rural economies that are already struggling. The president issued an order late Tuesday compelling plants to re-open. Here is more on that.
Looks like beautiful weather is in the weekend forecast, so I hope you are able to enjoy some warmth and sunshine. As always, please stay in touch and let me know if there is anything I can do to help.