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Gov. Tim Walz: 'If you're going to protest, social distance'

The governor also provided a response to President Trump's latest tweet.
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Gov. Tim Walz has provided a response to the protest being held outside the governor's mansion on Friday, as well as President Trump's encouragement of it.

The president tweeted "LIBERATE MINNESOTA" Friday morning in reference to the protest group that was gathering outside the Summit Avenue residence in demonstration against the Walz Administration's non-essential business shutdown.

Pictures and video from the scene showed what is likely to be the largest gathering in the state since social distancing rules began a week ago, prompting Walz to criticize protesters for putting themselves and others at risk.

"If you're going to protest, social distance," he said during a Friday press conference. 

"I will fight to the death those protesters to protest me every day they need to," he added, but said "when you're advocating for really reckless behavior, that's a different thing."

He also responded to President Trump's tweet, which came shortly after the "Liberate Minnesota" protest outside the governor's mansion was featured on Fox News.

Walz expressed confusion about the tweet given that the president had earlier this week revealed a plan to tackle coronavirus that puts state governors at the forefront.

After the tweet was posted, Walz said he tried to contact the president and vice-president Mike Pence but "got no return."

"I called to ask what are we doing different about moving towards about getting as many people back into the workforce without compromising health," he said, "that [answer] will probably take longer than a tweet.

"I'd like to know what we should be doing different. I'd argue we're doing everything they're telling us to do, but the difference is I actually have to do it here and we have to do it here."

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The latest Stay at Home is due to come to an end on May 4, and at this stage it's not clear whether or not it will be extended.

Some businesses have been allowed to return to work, with Walz announcing this week that many in the state's summer boating industry can resume, and on Friday announced outdoor recreation facilities like golf courses and gun ranges can re-open.

And he said he could see a time in the not too distant future where retailers can reopen provided they can assure social distancing, though admitted that large-scale sporting and music events, and other large gatherings, will take longer.

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