MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced he will be convening a special session of the Minnesota Legislature Monday and intends to again extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.
According to Walz, the 30-day extension into November is needed to ensure the state can continue to react quickly and effectively to the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 virus is unpredictable, and as we have seen over the past few weeks, it continues to devastate our communities,” said Governor Walz. “It’s imperative that we have the tools necessary to respond to this public health emergency and protect the health and wellbeing of each and every Minnesotan. This emergency is not over.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, more than 2,000 people have died in Minnesota from COVID-19.
“Each one is a neighbor, a family member, and a friend. Every one was somebody’s somebody.” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said. “We must be prepared to respond quickly and efficiently in order to keep Minnesotans safe. And in turn, we need every Minnesotan to take prudent steps to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors. While we know Minnesotans are feeling fatigued by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever before that we look out for one another to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
State officials say Minnesota’s peacetime emergency is consistent with the ongoing national emergency — declared by President Donald Trump — and the emergencies declared in every other U.S. state.
“Since the Governor declared a peacetime emergency, Minnesota has taken strong steps to respond to and provide relief for COVID-19, including enhancing protections for veterans in our veterans homes, activating the National Guard to assist in relief efforts, partnering with Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to launch a statewide testing strategy to test all symptomatic people, and providing economic relief and stability to those impacted by the pandemic,” the governor’s office said.
Senate Republicans have been opposed to Walz’s emergency powers, and have called for the end of the state of emergency. However, the DFL-controlled House has continued to uphold the peacetime emergency.