U.S. Senate candidate and business owners calling on Minnesota leaders to reopen to business

Former Congressman of Minnesota's 2nd district Jason Lewis and many small business owners statewide are voicing their concerns that Governor Walz' 'Stay at Home' order is having on their livelihoods

Posted: May 1, 2020 3:12 AM
Updated: May 1, 2020 9:57 AM

ALBERT LEA, Minnesota - Local business owners are concerned about their future success, especially now following Governor Walz' latest extension to the state's 'stay at home' order.

Now, they're taking their case to a former Congressman who is eyeing the U.S. Senate.

Beginning earlier this month, former Congressman Jason Lewis, who represented the state's 2nd congressional district from 2017 to 2019, and currently vying for the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Tina Smith for the Senate this Fall, has been criss-crossing the state from Duluth to the Twin Cities to Rochester on the 'Reopening Minnesota for Business' tour, hearing from business owners who may lose everything if the Governor's order is prolonged.

"These resorts and these restaurants up North aren't going to survive another season without revenue."

On Thursday, he took his case to Albert Lea during a roundtable discussion with small business owners.

"The cure is starting to become worse than the disease when you take a look at elective procedures that are being put off, even cancer biopsies. You're looking at mom and pop businesses like on Broadway in Albert Lea that won't reopen again. Dreams are being shattered for students, business people, and that eventually is going to have a greater social pathology or health cost than the virus. We're coming into the summer season, the virus is leveling off, if not dropping. This is the time to reopen Minnesota and enough is enough."

Despite moves like the Paycheck Protection Program aimed to keep individuals on their feet, Lewis says that temporary measures are not sustainable long-term.

"The government can provide temporary measures, but you can't do this in perpetuity. The total federal budget is $4.2 trillion...we're going to have a deficit in one year larger than the entire budget."

Realtor Robert Hoffman was one of several small business owners in attendance at Thursday's roundtable. He also owns and manages properties in town, and while his tenants have been able to pay for rent and other utilities, he's concerned about the impact the longer the order is in place.

"Maintenance still has to happen, emergencies will still happen, management still has to happen. The mortgages on our buildings that we own are not forgiven. If a few places decided not to pay rent, everybody would be homeless through a foreclosure ultimately."

He's heard from business leaders in the community, including the owner and operator of a food truck, who is concerned that if events like fairs, festivals and concerts would be cancelled for the year, it would have a negative impact.

"She started it a few years ago...she got the business up and running after winning a competition, and now here she is a year later wondering the fate of her competition winning business."

While many states are implementing a multi-phase approach to reopen businesses, he's in favor of customers and owners having their personal choice.

"Let then everybody decide, 'do I want to go to those restaurants yet? Do I want to list my house for sale yet? Do I want to get my haircut yet?' But not limit them to make that decision."

Lewis will be in the Brainerd area on Friday.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 20573

Reported Deaths: 878
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin6918534
Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
Anoka116455
Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
Clay36623
Rice3652
Scott3462
Wright2401
Sherburne2081
Todd1970
Benton1662
Carver1612
Mower1501
Steele1400
Martin1245
Blue Earth1121
St. Louis11113
Pine850
Freeborn840
Winona7715
Carlton730
Nicollet683
Cottonwood620
Polk582
Otter Tail550
Itasca527
Goodhue522
Watonwan500
Chisago481
Dodge430
Meeker420
Crow Wing421
Le Sueur411
Chippewa400
Jackson390
Morrison380
Murray350
Becker320
Lyon310
Douglas290
McLeod260
Isanti250
Waseca240
Rock210
Unassigned199
Fillmore171
Mille Lacs161
Wabasha160
Swift150
Sibley120
Beltrami120
Wilkin113
Norman110
Kanabec111
Cass113
Faribault110
Brown112
Pipestone100
Marshall80
Pennington70
Pope70
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Yellow Medicine50
Koochiching50
Lincoln50
Mahnomen51
Renville50
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Big Stone30
Redwood30
Traverse30
Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
Hubbard10
Kittson10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Fayette260
Hamilton260
Madison241
Monona230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee220
Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Kossuth70
Emmet70
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Union60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Pocahontas40
Mitchell40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Unassigned30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur00
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