The COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing responses have caused significant ripples through our society, leading to changes in our daily lives unlike what most of us have ever seen. “WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER” has been an emergent theme during our national and state efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and health threat.
Many view the efforts initiated as leadership while others view it as unnecessary hysteria and panic. Given a legitimate concern for the health, welfare and safety of the general public, leadership at all levels and those who coalesce around resolving the crisis should resist politicizing the problem at hand.
The Minnesota Legislature has taken decisive and overwhelmingly bipartisan action to ensure Minnesota has the resources needed to prepare and respond to this pandemic. Throughout a package of bills which received legislative approval Thursday, there are sunsets, reporting requirements, restrictions, and other guardrails. Click this link for more details on the bill which passed the House 99-4 yesterday.
Aside from tending to duties related to legislative action at the Capitol, I have continued working to communicate with constituents. At present, much of the correspondence I am receiving is questions in regard to numerous executive orders issued by Gov. Tim Walz, such as declaring a peacetime emergency, temporarily closing schools, and shuttering many businesses.
The volume of inquiries we legislators are receiving is quite substantial and here is a list of resources I hope will be of assistance:
•Unemployment benefits will be expedited for workers impacted by the Coronavirus.
•The Small Business Administration is making disaster assistance available to impacted small business owners.
•In addition, Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is making emergency loans available as well.
•MNsure is clarifying insurance options for those experiencing a change in income or unemployment.
The Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both have comprehensive FAQ pages.
Each of us can take several precautions in our daily lives to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. First, practice social distancing when around others. It also means staying home except to perform essential trips for food, gas, or other supplies. This is especially true under the governor’s Stay at Home order, which begins at 11:59 p.m. today and lasts until Friday, April 10.
Second, you can “Do the 5.” These are 5 simple things you can do:
•HANDS: Wash them often.
•ELBOW: Cough into it.
•FACE: Don't touch it.
•FEET: Stay more than 3 feet apart, 6 feet apart is better.
•FEEL Sick? Stay home.
The Legislature will remain hard at work in the coming weeks and months and, if necessary, take additional action to protect Minnesotans and assist families and businesses. In the meantime, I will continue working on behalf of District 33A residents. Please stay in touch and let me know if there is any way I can assist.
Rep. Jerry Hertaus