Minnesota’s Legislature, governor, and public health officials are working around the clock to respond to challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and I want to acknowledge that Minnesotans are facing a lot of uncertainty through no fault of their own.
I’m sharing a brief update on where things stand at the state government level as of today (Monday, March 16), including actions already taken by the Legislature and the governor, and current measures we are advancing to support workers, employers, and health care providers.
I will provide new information as it becomes available. Please contact my office if you are having trouble finding answers to your questions or receiving the help you need. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can reach me by phone at (651) 296-3964. I will respond to your messages as soon as possible.
School and child care questions:
Call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 (7am-7pm daily)
*Childcare providers with questions should call 1-888-234-1268
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 (7am-7pm daily)
Questions for workers and employers:
651-259-7114 or 800-657-3858
TIMELINE OF STATE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
-On Friday, March 6, public health officials confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Minnesota.
-On Monday, March 9, the Legislature unanimously approved a $21 million appropriation for Minnesota’s public health response contingency account, and Governor Walz signed the bill into law Tuesday, March 10.
-On Wednesday, March 11, the Minnesota House announced additional COVID-19 preparedness legislation, including no/low-interest loans to providers, clinics, facilities, health systems; expanding eligibility for Unemployment Insurance and paid leave; compensating hourly school workers for COVID-related closures; banning price gouging of food and other household necessities; and reducing financial barriers for Minnesotans who need testing and treatment.
-On Friday, March 13, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-01 declaring a peacetime emergency in Minnesota and unveiled legislative proposals to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic (largely similar to proposals introduced by the House). These actions came in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health announcing community mitigation strategies to limit the spread of the virus.
-On Sunday, March 15, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-02, authorizing the temporary closure of Minnesota K-12 public schools to students in order for school administrators and teachers to make long-term plans for the continuity of education and essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools will be closed to students by Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 27 to accommodate this planning between school staff, teachers, and administrators with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Executive Order 20-02 requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders, and other emergency workers during previously planned school days to ensure Minnesota’s first line of defense against COVID-19 can stay on the job. It also makes provisions for the continuity of mental health services and requires schools to continue providing meals to students in need.
-On Monday, March 16, the four legislative leaders from both political parties and chambers announced major changes to public access and legislative operations at the State Capitol to protect Minnesotans’ health. Please be assured, legislators are continuing to work around the clock to respond to this crisis in a variety of ways, but we’re doing so in ways that ensure we are in compliance with public health guidelines.
Keeping our communities healthy
Another reminder to please implement and share these recommendations to keep our communities healthy:
- Implement social distancing, keeping 6 feet away from others;
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
- Stay home when sick;
- Encourage staff to telework when feasible;
- Cancel or postpone large events in excess of 10 people gathered together