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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Lisa Demuth (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings and I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. Before we get to business at hand today, I want to make a simple request for constituents to email me with positive stories about people helping others during these tough times. I may share them in upcoming messages and, if I do, please know identities will be protected if that is your wish. The bottom line is we could all use a little good news around now and this seems like a way we can share some stories about people going the extra mile to lend a helping hand.

As for legislative news, there has been much uncertainty and even some misinformation regarding how the governor’s executive orders on COVID-19 impact Minnesota’s resorts, a major industry in this part of the state. The fact is, resorts never were closed under the governor’s orders. I have been in touch with resort owners in our area in the hopes of clearing up some things and here is the most up to date and accurate guidance we have received:

  • The hotel portions of resorts (including rented cabins) can open as planned and can accept guests.
  • Guests do not have to be members of a critical sector to stay at a resort.
  • Communal amenities may not be open for use.
  • While resorts can accept visitors, the Stay at Home Order continues to discourage unnecessary travel, and the Order asks people to remain close to their homes.
  • Resorts do not have to open if they are not comfortable doing so. 

Maintenance and cleaning staff can begin work now to prepare for the season. Of course, health and safety of employees and guests should remain a priority throughout the season, so please do your part.

We are working for clarification on campgrounds and RV resorts and I will pass along anything we learn about those facilities.

News on COVID-19 testing

Gov. Tim Walz and members of his administration provided some good news during yesterday’s public briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak with the announcement of a new partnership to significantly ramp up testing capacity. The governor and did not indicate an exact date when we can expect to see that capacity reached, but suggested we should start to see an increase shortly. Here are some quick details:

  • A new partnership with Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota, funded by the COVID-19 Minnesota fund, will establish capacity to deliver 20,000 molecular and 15,000 serology tests per day. This will allow testing of all symptomatic people, and in turn we can isolate and trace contacts for positive cases. 
  • The partnership will help collect data to identify hotspots, conduct further research into how best to treat and prevent COVID-19.

This breakthrough could be a big help in helping our state re-open in a safe, effective manner so we can continue to protect people as workers get back on the job. More notes from the governor’s briefing yesterday can be found here. Please understand this is a major logistical undertaking so, while this is good news, it still will require some time for us to get our system up to speed to handle this volume so we can incrementally re-open Minnesota.

Resource for farmers

Farmers looking for information to help navigate the COVID-19 outbreak are encouraged to check out the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website as a resource. It has numerous topics and contacts for department staff. The site covers issues from questions about everything from meat processing to mental health resources, financial support and beyond. 

Until next time, please stay healthy and safe and let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Sincerely,

Lisa

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