MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz is expected to extend the peacetime emergency order through June 12, according to WCCO’s Esme Murphy.

Both Republican and DFL Party legislative leadership say they expect the peacetime emergency order to be extended Wednesday. Walz is expected to make an announcement about the future of COVID-19 efforts at 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a Q&A period with the media at 6:45 p.m.

The peacetime emergency order is distinct from the stay-at-home order. That stay-at-home order is currently set to expire Monday, May 18, but may also be subject to extension given the extension of the peacetime emergency order. Walz is expected to announce additional modifications to the stay-at-home order that would potentially allow for a relaxation on the gathering of small groups, along with who can go to work.

Large gatherings of people like at sporting events would likely remain banned, and restaurants and bars would still stay closed for dine-in service, according to lawmakers WCCO spoke with.

Walz has been under pressure from Republicans to loosen or lift the stay-at-home order to allow smaller gatherings to take place and to allow more people to return to work. But many expect the governor to turn the dial back only a little ways toward normal, and definitely not all the way.

The state’s peacetime emergency was set to expire Wednesday, May 13. The peacetime emergency gives the governor power to issue executive orders, stay-at-home orders and close businesses during the COVID-19 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.

An extension of the peacetime emergency order would also allow him to keep schools closed for the rest of the school year.

His announcement comes at a time when 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.

Esme Murphy

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