Governor Walz declares peacetime emergency, unveils legislative proposals to prepare for COVID-19 pandemic

MSR News Online

Minnesota Department of Health announces new community mitigation strategies

Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-01  Friday declaring a peacetime emergency in Minnesota and unveiled legislative proposals to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions came in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health announcing new community mitigation strategies to limit the spread of the virus.

“The safety and well-being of Minnesotans is my top priority and we are working around the clock to combat the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Walz.  “I am declaring a peacetime emergency in Minnesota to ensure the State is able to respond to more rapidly to issues as they arrive. We’re looking to the future and preparing for the next chapters of this pandemic as it continues to evolve.”

The World Health Organization recently declared COVID-19 a pandemic and over the past week there has been an increased number of cases in Minnesota.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm today issued a number of community mitigation strategies, which Governor Walz advises and urges Minnesotans to follow, including:

  • Cancel or postpone large events in excess of 250 people gathered together;
  • Ensure space for social distancing of six feet per person at smaller events and gatherings (less than 250 people); and
  • Limit gatherings with participants at high risk for severe disease to less than 10 people.

Further details on MDH’s recommended community mitigation strategies can be found here.

In addition to declaring a peacetime state of emergency, Governor Walz also unveiled a package of legislative proposals to better prepare our health care system and provide relief to Minnesotans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor is requesting immediate assistance from the Legislature in creating a COVID emergency fund, removing financial barriers for Minnesotans who need to be tested, expanding the use of paid sick time, and providing long-term care facilities with more resources, among other recommendations.