Gov. Walz faces backlash from Republicans over new COVID restrictions

"Instead of giving Minnesotans the tools to weather the current economic hardships, Governor Walz has unilaterally decided to put people out of work."

Gov. Walz delivers a statewide address Wednesday night. (Minnesota Governor's Office/YouTube)

Gov. Tim Walz is facing a wave of criticism from Republicans after announcing sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions Wednesday night.

After hinting at it for days, Walz implemented a set of regulations via executive order on Wednesday, closing down restaurants, bars, and organized sports. Republicans criticized the governor’s new order, and lockdowns in general.

“Governor Tim Walz’s unilateral decision to shut down our economy again is disconcerting, especially as we enter the holiday season,” Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said in a press release.

“The data shows that youth sports aren’t responsible for the spread of the virus. Given the mess that public schools are in right now, sports is the only normal thing that a lot of kids have in their lives. This decision will set off a cascade of unintended consequences for an entire generation of Minnesotans,” she continued.

Venues and activities shut down by the executive order include:

  • Organized adult and youth sports
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Pools
  • Gyms
  • Indoor entertainment venues like movie theaters and arcades
  • Outdoor entertainment venues like paintball and go-carts

Additionally, the executive order comes with a four-week ban on all social gatherings with people from other households.

“If the governor has evidence the last lockdown actually worked – not just correlation or speculation, but hard evidence, he should be transparent and show us. Because for many Minnesotans, it simply looks as though the virus faded during the warm summer months and came back when it got cold again — just as everyone predicted,” said Senator Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake.

The day before Sen. Pratt advocated for more transparency, Minnesota was ranked best in the nation in sharing COVID-19 information by Resolve to Save Lives.

“Governor Walz’s decision to close major portions of our society is ill-advised and extremely harmful. Make no mistake, this is nothing more than another unconstitutional shutdown of businesses and family activities. Instead of giving Minnesotans the tools to weather the current economic hardships, Governor Walz has unilaterally decided to put people out of work,” members of the New House Republican Caucus said in a joint statement.

“People are tired of failed policy after failed policy from this governor. The first shutdown imposed by Governor Walz was a total disaster. His pursuit of a second shutdown is a misguided effort which will harm Minnesota,” the statement continued.

Minnesota reported 7,877 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and 72 new deaths. According to the University of Minnesota, 1,669 Minnesotans are currently hospitalized and another 355 are in an intensive care unit.