MN Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday that he will extend the state’s peacetime emergency until mid-June, but he will allow the stay-at-home order to expire next week.
Retail stores may reopen on May 18, but they must have safety plans in place, and operate at 50% capacity.
Bars, restaurants, salons, and gyms can reopen on June 1 with certain restrictions in place, which Walz says will be announced by next Wednesday.
He also recommended that gatherings of family and friends — with everyone wearing masks and practicing social distancing — do not exceed 10 people. The stay-at-home-order, which Walz dubbed “Stay Home MN,” will transition into what he calls, “Stay Safe MN.”
The state’s peacetime emergency, which was set to expire on May 13, gives the governor power to issue executive orders, stay-at-home orders and close businesses during the pandemic. It also allowed the state to set up partnerships with the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to increase the number of tests being given.
Republicans in the State House and Senate have been critical of the Democratic governor’s unilateral authority, and have been withholding support of his $2 billion bonding bill until he relinquishes his emergency powers.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said in a statement that certain businesses should’ve have to wait until June 1 to reopen.
The announcement comes as states across the country are beginning to loosen restrictions and end stay-at-home orders all before achieving many of the goals set by federal guidelines for safely reopening, most of which are determined by which direction the number of new cases and coronavirus-related deaths are going.
In late April, Walz relaxed the rules for businesses slightly, allowing up to 20,000 companies to resume operations, impacting about 80,000 to 100,000 workers. Curbside pickup for retail stores was also allowed, as long as certain guidelines were followed.
Read more from MN Public Radio.