Following the advice of public health experts, senior advocates, labor leaders, doctors, hospitals, and long-term care providers, Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday signed Executive Order 20-83, once again extending the COVID-19 peacetime emergency that gives the state flexibility in responding to rapidly-evolving issues stemming from COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present an unprecedented and rapidly evolving challenge to our state. These executive orders helped us build hospital capacity, secure critical care and personal protective equipment for healthcare providers and launch an aggressive testing strategy,” said Gov. Walz.
The president’s COVID-19 national emergency remains in effect, and states of emergency are in place in all 50 states.
Minnesota’s peacetime emergency protects Minnesotans against evictions and wage garnishment; provides expedited procurement power for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment; allows Minnesota to re-open society strategically, while following the advice of public health experts; protects workers from unsafe worker conditions; requires Minnesotans to wear a face covering in certain settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and provides economic relief and stability to those impacted by the pandemic. If the peacetime emergency were to end, it would jeopardize over $50 million each month in federal funding.
“While these actions have slowed the spread of the virus and saved lives, it is important for us to assess the continued need for existing executive orders and rescind executive orders that are no longer necessary,” said Gov. Walz.
The governor also issued Executive Order 20-84, rescinding Emergency Executive Orders 20-15, 20-16, and 20-32 and amending Emergency Executive Order 20-23.
Executive Order 20-15 directed the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to fund the Small Business Emergency Loan Program. All funds from the program have been distributed. As such, Executive Order 20-15 is no longer necessary.
Executive Order 20-16 directed non-hospital entities to take inventory of their personal protective equipment (PPE) and submit this information to the state. Because the deadline for the inventory has passed and inventories have been submitted, Executive Order 20-16 is no longer necessary.
Executive Order 20-23 authorized Minnesota health-related licensing boards to modify licensure requirements during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency and implement dispensing limitations related to the medicines chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. The limitations related to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are no longer necessary and that part of the Executive Order can be rescinded while the other provisions related to health licensing boards remain intact.
Finally, Executive Order 20-32 permitted the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to delay, waive, or modify a number of health-related statutory and regulatory requirements for healthcare facilities. Executive Order 20-32 also gave MDH flexibility in carrying out its other regulatory activities and in administering state-funded grants to meet the needs of responding to the pandemic. MDH worked collaboratively with the Legislature to codify these important changes. Due to this codification, Executive Order 20-32 is no longer necessary.
Both Executive Orders have been approved by the Executive Council, which is made up of Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Ellison, Secretary of State Simon, and State Auditor Blaha.
–Information provided by the Office of Gov. Walz.