Greetings from the Floor,
Yesterday, the Legislature passed HF4531 to address COVID-19. The bill had two articles dealing with financial support and policy provisions not tied to appropriations. The appropriations of Article 1 are as follows:
Here is a link to information about the Small Business Emergency Loan Program: https://mn.gov/deed/business/financing-business/deed-programs/peacetime/. I will be sure to include updates to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program on my legislative Facebook page as they become available.
Article 2 of the bill included the following policy provisions:
Today, Gov. Walz issued EOs 20-21, 20-22, 20-23 and 20-24. Details are as follows:
On Wednesday, Gov. Walz issued EO 20-20 directing Minnesotans to stay at home. The order goes into effect from March 27 at 11:59 pm (tonight) until April 10 at 5:00 pm. The governor also extended the closure of bars, restaurants and other places of public accommodation until May 1 at 5:00 pm. EO 20-20 can be read here (along with information about the Critical Sectors it references)
I know these orders are causing a lot of frustration for people and businesses. I have received emails that the order should not be statewide, and instead focused on areas of the state experiencing more widespread outbreaks. The intent of these orders is to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and avoid overburdening our healthcare facilities.
Although Cass County (North Dakota) reported its first COVID-19 death today, we are not seeing community spreading of the virus right now in Fargo-Moorhead. I want to keep it that way. The only way to control the spread of COVID-19 (short of a vaccine) is to severely limit how much contact we have with each other. Based on what’s happened in other states and other countries, we have no reason to believe we are isolated from the coronavirus. I don’t want to take a wait and see approach, and then rush to action when cases increase. It’s likely we haven’t seen more widespread cases of the coronavirus in Fargo-Moorhead because of a lack of testing infrastructure (which is happening nationwide) and people doing the right thing by staying home when they’re sick. Thank you for following the guidance of public health professionals.
The governor, Legislature and Congress are all working on financial and economic relief for Minnesotans. The economy and consumer sentiment were strong going into this crisis. The economic recovery will depend on how long the pandemic lasts. Prematurely going about our normal lives will not help to control transmissions of COVID-19; it would likely have the opposite effect of dragging this public health emergency out longer. I don’t want to think how far the economy would have to bounce back if more people get sick or die. These are unprecedented and unnerving times. We will get through them. Now is a great time to try our different platforms of technology that allow us to communicate with each other remotely. Although physical isolation and quarantining are what’s needed right now, we don’t have to cut off communication with each other. We live in a technological time that affords us new ways to communicate with each other. Please take advantage of it. We will get through this, and be better on the other side. Please follow my legislative Facebook page for updates to the state’s response. And, as always, please feel welcome to contact me anytime.
Thank You for the Opportunity to Serve,
PO Box 612, Moorhead, MN 56561