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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota has a big decision to make.

If the state reopens next week, that would go against the nation’s leading voice on how to make it through this pandemic.

As states across the U.S. scale back their stay-at-home orders, many at different speeds with different requirements, concern grows in Washington.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, worries it will trigger coronavirus outbreaks beyond control.

“Which in fact, paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery. Because it would almost turn the clock back rather than going forward,” Fauci said.

Gov. Tim Walz has taken a slow approach at reopening the state’s economy, most recently allowing curbside pick-up for shops. Some lawmakers, like Republican Sen. Paul Anderson, are ready for him to open retail stores with limits, like Wisconsin did this week.

“I am in full support that they need to do this very smart, and they have plans, and they have to have the right protection, and the right safety measures, and social distancing in place,” Anderson said.

READ MORE: Fight Continues Over Gov. Walz’s Emergency Powers, $2B Bonding Bill

Before going forward, the governor had said the state would need 14 consecutive days of falling cases. But cases have increased, along with testing in the state. Minnesota hit its goal Monday of 5,000 tests in a day.

Outbreaks at meat processing plants have also created hot spots. Balancing that while helping struggling small businesses is a difficult task, and some lawmakers, like Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman, feel Gov. Walz is moving at the right pace.

“I think people also understand that we’re balancing human life here, and so we can be inconvenienced until we make sure it’s safe,” Hortman said.

The Minnesota Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would allow small businesses to apply for $10,000 grant. It passed with bipartisan support, and mirrors a similar bill the House passed last week.

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Jeff Wagner

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