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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michelle (Shelly) Christensen (DFL)

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The Latest on COVID-19

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Rep. Christensen

Dear Neighbors, 

I hope you and your loved ones are faring well during these challenging times. Major changes to how we live our lives have been happening in quick succession, and I know the uncertainty can be one of the hardest things to deal with right now. At the State Capitol, we’re continuing to work on ways to make sure Minnesota remains strong during and after this pandemic, and I take solace in the ways I’ve seen our community and state band together as we weather this storm. 

Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been working on, as well as information on some helpful resources. 


Our Health Care Response

Yesterday, the Minnesota Legislature passed our latest bill in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, which Governor Walz signed into law. This new law allocates $200 million toward an emergency and long-term grant program, designed to respond to the needs of health care and long-term care facilities.  You can read more about the new law, and how we’re adapting at the Legislature, here

House Floor

When we are on the House floor, you’ll see in the photo above that we’re doing our best to adhere to recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health, the most evident being to give yourself a space of 6ft between others. We had members spread throughout the House floor, up in the gallery, and more in adjacent rooms. 

If you have COVID-19 related questions, please make use of the resources below:


Restrictions on Restaurants, Closures of Venues

Yesterday at 5pm, gyms, bars, theaters, museums, and many other businesses where the public gathers were ordered to close. Restaurants are still allowed take-out and drive-thru options, and I encourage everyone to patronize local businesses that are able to do this. You can read Governor Walz’s executive order on this measure here, which includes a comprehensive list of the types of businesses that are impacted. 

This is a tough but necessary measure, and as a result thousands of Minnesotans are currently living with either reduced working hours or a complete loss of employment. I highly encourage everyone in that situation to look into unemployment benefits, which you can find more information on here.

Additional questions for workers and employees cans be directed to the number and link below:


School Closures

There have been several important state and federal announcements, all of them in quick succession over the past couple days. Today is the first day Minnesota’s schools are mandated to be closed, though many started earlier this week. The next few days will be used to accommodate planning between school staff, teachers, and administrators with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Department of Health on how to make sure Minnesota’s students are able to continue their studies during this pandemic. 

During this time, schools will be required 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.

If you have any questions on school closures or child care, please make use of the numbers and link below:

  • Call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 (7am-7pm daily)
  • Visit 
  • Child care providerswith questions should call 1-888-234-1268 


Minnesota Department of Health Resources

Additionally, MDH is making information about the coronavirusavailable in multiple languages. A full list of available languages and links to download materials are available below. 

MDH has also set up non-English versions of its coronavirus website. A full list of available languages and links to each page is available below. 


Stay In Touch

Our physical offices are only accessible via appointment these days, but always feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you have! You can reach me at or (651) 296-4244. It’s an honor to represent our community at the Capitol!



Representative Shelly Christensen

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