[ST. PAUL, MN] – As COVID-19 surges across the Midwest and Minnesota experiences a record number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, Governor Tim Walz today extended the COVID-19 peacetime emergency that gives the state flexibility in responding to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is taking a deadly toll on our communities and putting a strain on our health care system,” said Governor Walz. “As cases rise throughout the Midwest, it’s more important than ever that we have access to tools to fight this pandemic and protect Minnesotans’ health and well-being.”
The announcement comes as hospitals express concern about their capacity to treat Minnesotans with COVID-19 and as Minnesota experiences record-setting highs in new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Minnesota’s case positivity rate is above 10 percent, twice the level at which COVID-19 spread is considered controllable. Minnesota’s neighboring states have the highest infection rates in the nation, and 48 other states remain in a state of emergency.
“The situation in Minnesota is incredibly serious,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We need to be able to respond quickly to rapidly-evolving circumstances so that we can keep Minnesotans safe and save lives. We are all in this together.”
Minnesota’s peacetime emergency gives the Governor tools to expand Minnesota’s testing capacity; protects Minnesotans against evictions and wage garnishment; provides expedited procurement power for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment; allows Minnesota to follow the advice of public health experts in combatting the spread of COVID-19; 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 Minnesotans and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Also today, Governor Walz signed Executive order 20-98, rescinding Executive Order 20-22, which authorized the State Auditor to temporarily suspend reporting requirements during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency.
These Executive Orders have been approved by the Minnesota Executive Council, which is made up of Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Secretary of State Steve Simon, and State Auditor Julie Blaha.