By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz has once again extended Minnesota’s COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency.

Walz says the extension will help ensure the successful distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine across the state.

“The Peacetime Emergency gives us the tools to keep Minnesotans healthy and deliver the vaccine in a way that is quick, equitable and safe,” Walz said.

Minnesota is one of 48 states that are still under a state of emergency, which allows for the growth of the state’s COVID testing ability; helps rush PPE and other medical equipment to the state when needed; shields residents from wage garnishments and evictions; protects employees from unsafe working conditions; provides economic stability and relief for the state’s small businesses; and requires residents to wear face masks while inside businesses, schools and government buildings.

Walz also signed executive orders Monday that allow the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy to change licensing requirements during the pandemic, and to make sure unemployment benefits are distributed in a timelier manner.