Governor Walz announced indefinite closure of all schools, restaurants and other entertainment venues, Tuesday.
Walz originally announced school closures on March 15 and mandated the closure of restaurants, bars, theaters, gyms and similar spaces the very next day. Originally, both closures were set to end by March 27, however the governor has now extended that end date indefinitely.
“There may come a point where we can say our children aren’t coming back this year but because it’s so fluid we don’t want to make definite pronouncements,” Walz said in his daily update to Minnesotans.
The governor did not specify when schools and businesses will be allowed to re-open.
He also rejected the idea set forth by national pundits and the President that a target date should be set to reopen businesses in order to heal a suffering economy.
“I don’t think it’s a choice we have to make between the economy and health,” he said.
Since Walz closed a massive portion of small businesses in Minnesota, about 150,000 have found themselves applying for unemployment in order to keep their heads above water.
In light of this, the governor forbid landlords, Monday, from evicting tenants who fail to pay rent with an executive order that seems to acknowledge the financial distress placed on the middle class by his closures.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) March 23, 2020
Walz also commented on shelter in place orders in Minnesota. Such an order would prohibit citizens from leaving their homes except to purchase food or seek medical care.
Over the last several days, Walz has moved from saying that he’s “prepared” to issue such an order warning that this is “probable.” Today, he predicted that a shelter in place order, much like the closures of schools and restaurants, may prove ineffective and be without a clear end date.
According to Minnesota’s Constitution and statutory law, your rights don’t change much during an emergency.https://t.co/p0JfsbFjXk
— Alpha News MN (@AlphaNewsMN) March 24, 2020
“There’s not going to be a day when you shelter in place that the all clear signal goes off, everybody comes out and they don’t get it [coronavirus]. That isn’t the way it’s going to work… There’s going to be several waves of it [coronavirus].”
Minnesota presently has 262 cases of COVID-19, 7 of which have required ICU treatment. The state has over 250 ICU beds available, according to the governor’s update.
Walz also noted that his office can tell from “cellphone data” that Minnesotans have taken social distancing “seriously,” and he thanked residents of his state for their compliance with this policy.