Mixed reaction to Gov. Walz' revised COVID rules for Minnesota

Republicans attack continue restrictions on hospitality industry.

Posted: Dec 16, 2020 1:27 PM
Updated: Dec 16, 2020 6:06 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Reaction is coming in to Governor Walz’ latest announcement on COVID rules for the state of Minnesota.

“The Governor needs to allow our businesses to safely reopen their doors, and stop punishing our hospitality industry when the data does not support their continued closure,” says House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. “Minnesota started a downward trend before restaurants were forced to close, and the governor’s own data shows that only a fraction of a percent of all cases can be tied back to bars and restaurants.”

“We have been begging the Governor for more notice so businesses can plan for these latest changes,” says Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar. “Today’s announcement is way too little, far too late — even if a business wanted to start outdoor dining in 20 degree weather, most won’t have time or resources to be ready for customers by the weekend. His continued closure of pools is devastating for hotels and gyms when there are zero known cases linked to pools areas. The governor needs to follow the data and stop scapegoating the hospitality industry and destroying businesses and people’s livelihoods.”

“Today’s news is a small step forward for our gyms, but the governor should have gone further,” says Rep. Barb Haley, R-Red Wing. “Cases tied to gyms and fitness centers cases were almost nonexistent even when they were open at 50 percent capacity. The industry has done amazing work to protect the health and safety of employees and their members, and that effort is not reflected in the disappointing moves today from the Governor.”

Education Minnesota says Walz’ new plan to reopen school buildings to the youngest learners is workable, but only with strict enforcement of safety protocols and a renewed commitment by all Minnesotans to slowing the spread of the virus in their communities.

“For months now, educators have said they wanted to get back into their classrooms with their students, but only when it’s safe for everyone to do so,” says Denis Sprecht, President of Education Minnesota. “If districts meet the new high bar for safety for students and staff, and there are swift, serious consequences for the few employers who might cut corners, this plan could get more buildings open for the littlest learners.”

Liz Rammer, President and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, issued the following statement:

“With the news coming from the media, we are gravely disappointed by the Governor’s decision to extend the closure of restaurants into the new year. Since March, we have been at the table, in good faith, making the case that hospitality businesses are able to operate safely, balancing public health and economic viability. The state’s very own data supports our case, and they have been unwilling and unable to show us the analysis that says otherwise. As you will see in the attached letter we, again, made an ardent plea to the Governor to allow businesses to open up to 50% when the most recent closure order was set to expire on Friday.”

“Today’s plea to the Governor is to reconsider his decision to extend the closure. The tide is turning, as we have witnessed all week as more and more businesses are willing out of desperation to risk fines and penalties to save their livelihoods. Hospitality is a force for good in our communities, and the Governor and his administration would be wise to leverage that force, rather than watch it flicker out.”

“I’m very hopeful and thankful today. I appreciate the leadership of the Governor and his staff during this challenging time and the collaboration among health care organizations as our amazing frontline workers provide 24/7 care under the most difficult of circumstances," says Dr. Ken Holmen, President and CEO of CentraCare.  "I’m also thankful to our communities who are making sacrifices to protect the health and safety of our families, friends and neighbors. We are making progress, but we can’t let up. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are starting to decrease. Vaccines are now here, but their impact will take several months. So we’re counting on every Minnesotan to keep doing your part – wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands. If we all do this over the next few weeks, it will save lives and be the best measure of our holiday spirit.”

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan released the following statement:

"Governor Walz continues to make unilateral decisions controlling all aspects of Minnesota's businesses, families and well-being in response to moving through the pandemic."

"To loosen restrictions by allowing bars and restaurants to resume outdoor service in the middle of winter when temperatures are often below freezing is not a solution to restart our economy or provide revenues these businesses need to maintain their viability, especially after the year they've already been through."

"During times of crisis a great leader is one that listens to the people he represents, leads with careful and thoughtful input from many diverse voices and understands Minnesotans are smart enough to make the right decisions for their families. A great leader doesn't kill an economy, cancel holidays, dictate our children's ability to learn and then bailout businesses with their own hard-earned taxpayer dollars; due to decisions he made which put them in an untenable position in the first place."

Representative Peggy Bennett (R-Albert Lea) posted the following on Facebook about Governor Walz' announcement:

"Today Governor Walz announced a new executive order that continues and modifies the closures he first announced on November 18th. Once again, the Legislature was not consulted or involved in these decisions. Therefore, YOUR voice was left out. That saddens me greatly. Minnesota is stronger together, and we make better decisions together - not by unilateral decree. I will share my thoughts on this new executive order in a future post."

Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Walz’s announcement that school districts can begin reopening for elementary-aged students on January 18:

“The governor’s decision to finally allow local school boards to decide if elementary-aged students can resume in-person learning is long overdue, but I am glad he has finally accepted that it can be done safely. That is great news."

“That said, I still have serious concerns. His approach has not been rooted in science or data; the evidence is substantial that schools can reopen without posing any significant health risk. In fact, every day that students remain in distance learning causes more and more damage. Grades are plummeting. Development is in freefall. UNICEF has warned of a ‘lost generation’ of students. Students should be back in classrooms right now. Parents are so distraught I have even had some ask if they have standing to file a lawsuit against the governor. They are desperate."

“Local school boards know how to educate their students safely; they should be the ones making these decisions about all grade levels. Blanket approaches rarely work in education. This is no different. I am glad the governor is allowing districts to move toward in-person learning again for young learners, but we can -- and must -- do better.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 552117

Reported Deaths: 7073
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1149761676
Ramsey47562851
Dakota42219422
Anoka38230415
Washington24823273
Stearns20893218
St. Louis16688297
Scott15865117
Wright14700126
Olmsted1270397
Sherburne1052180
Carver974845
Clay780689
Rice7588101
Blue Earth693240
Kandiyohi626079
Crow Wing612186
Chisago546650
Otter Tail541373
Benton527997
Mower450032
Douglas440570
Goodhue440471
Winona437849
Nobles399448
Morrison392559
McLeod391554
Isanti373559
Beltrami371357
Itasca368352
Polk364467
Steele359914
Becker352048
Lyon347348
Carlton328152
Freeborn325529
Pine310321
Nicollet305342
Brown293839
Mille Lacs279550
Le Sueur268822
Todd267730
Cass248726
Meeker234137
Waseca230720
Martin212329
Wabasha19943
Roseau196318
Hubbard171241
Renville171243
Dodge17083
Redwood166035
Houston162414
Cottonwood156221
Fillmore15159
Pennington150619
Chippewa145236
Wadena143521
Faribault143319
Sibley135210
Kanabec129221
Aitkin128436
Watonwan12549
Rock122319
Jackson116810
Yellow Medicine110119
Pipestone109425
Murray10209
Pope10156
Swift99418
Marshall85517
Stevens81310
Lake78219
Clearwater77114
Wilkin76712
Koochiching76512
Lac qui Parle73522
Big Stone5594
Lincoln5572
Grant5478
Norman5229
Mahnomen4978
Unassigned48578
Kittson46422
Red Lake3887
Traverse3595
Lake of the Woods3053
Cook1440

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357296

Reported Deaths: 5818
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55892604
Linn20270329
Scott19017234
Black Hawk15532306
Woodbury14878221
Johnson1401781
Dubuque13127202
Dallas1088496
Pottawattamie10713162
Story1029847
Warren554486
Clinton536690
Cerro Gordo521386
Webster507791
Sioux505573
Marshall476974
Muscatine458996
Des Moines440765
Wapello4251120
Buena Vista421640
Jasper407670
Plymouth396979
Lee368155
Marion354475
Jones293055
Henry285937
Bremer279160
Carroll279051
Crawford262240
Boone257933
Benton249955
Washington249350
Dickinson241243
Mahaska224450
Jackson217842
Kossuth212562
Clay210325
Tama206671
Delaware202539
Winneshiek194033
Page190320
Buchanan188531
Cedar183923
Fayette182941
Wright180035
Hardin179542
Hamilton178049
Harrison175673
Clayton166855
Butler162534
Mills158320
Cherokee156938
Floyd155242
Lyon154541
Madison153719
Poweshiek152533
Allamakee149051
Iowa145324
Hancock143334
Winnebago135831
Grundy135032
Cass134354
Calhoun133211
Jefferson130535
Emmet128440
Shelby127537
Sac127019
Appanoose126647
Louisa126549
Mitchell125241
Union124032
Chickasaw122515
Humboldt118226
Guthrie117829
Franklin112521
Palo Alto110622
Howard102822
Montgomery100237
Unassigned10020
Clarke98123
Keokuk94430
Monroe93628
Ida89533
Adair84432
Pocahontas83421
Monona80930
Davis79924
Greene76510
Osceola75116
Lucas74922
Worth7088
Taylor65112
Fremont61210
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4939
Adams3284
Rochester/St. Mary'S
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Mason City
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