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Demuth urges Walz to take better 'tone and approach' toward businesses

Monday, August 31, 2020

ST. PAUL – Rep. Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, is among more than 50 Republican lawmakers urging Gov. Tim Walz and state agencies to improve their relations with businesses amid efforts to combat COVID-19.  

Demuth and fellow House Republicans filed the request through a letter they delivered to Walz on Monday. It is in response to a letter the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Labor and Industry issued last week informing hospitality industry leaders of stepped-up state compliance checks that could result in fines, forced closure loss of liquor license, workplace investigations, and more. 

“Businesses in our state are working extremely hard to adhere to evolving guidelines they’ve been handed in an ever-changing situation,” Demuth said. “The state’s role in all of this should be to offer support and help our entrepreneurs manage current challenges to both keep people safe and remain viable. Concerningly, communications from the state often are being received by Minnesotans as punitive or even threatening. I really hope our letter opens some eyes and leads to more positive relations because hard-working Minnesotans deserve a more constructive relationship with the state that governs them than the divisiveness we have seen from the governor and his agencies.” 

According to estimates from Hospitality Minnesota, just 2.3% of total state cases have been traced back to restaurants and bars, and there have been just over two dozen restaurants specifically identified as sources of outbreaks. 

Walz previously has stated that enforcement of state mandates and regulations were to be education in nature rather than punitive.  The letter urges Walz to “reassess the tone and approach your agencies are taking” with restaurants and bars, and urges state agencies to be partners rather than adversaries in efforts to combat COVID-19. 


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