Gov. Tim Walz to make Stay at Home announcement Thursday

The governor is expected to extend the order, but allow more businesses to re-open.
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Gov. Tim Walz, speaking in Worthington.

Gov. Tim Walz, speaking in Worthington.

Gov. Tim Walz will make his next announcement on the Stay at Home order on Thursday.

Walz confirmed during a press conference in Worthington that he will reveal his administration's decision on the order, and hinted that more businesses will be allowed to re-open, including Main Street retail.

The current order expires on Monday, although Walz has already loosened it more than once to allow golf courses and marinas to open, and non-customer facing commercial and industrial businesses to return to work.

He is expected to extend the order beyond Monday, but said Wednesday that it's likely more businesses would be allowed to re-open, including business such as independent hardware stores.

In his comments Wednesday, he notes that with the state allowing larger businesses such as meat processing plants to stay open, it should be able to do the same for smaller retailers – albeit with social distancing parameters in place.

"If we can make a large plant function and we can do it without infecting people, we probably oughta be able to allow the Ace Hardware store to be able to sell a hammer when they need to with a couple of people in the store," he said.

"In main streets, we're going to have to really focus on that because we will not be able to take much longer. And when you lose a major employer, like we see at JBS, that has a ripple effect that is gigantic."

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Nonetheless, he balked at the idea of a total reopening given that his administration still believes the peak of the outbreak is a month away, and that "throwing the doors open" wouldn't fix the economy if too many Minnesotans are too concerned they're contract COVID-19 to go out.

"The surest way we get this economy back going again is we make sure people feel safe and secure, we make sure that they feel like the risk management has lowered the risk to an acceptable point and then we can get things rolling," he said.

"We have still flattened the curve in infections per 100,000 more than any state in the country. But as I've told you many times, that's not going to stay that way. It's going to start climbing. The question is, how slow does it climb, how much herd immunity are we getting and how much hospital space do we have?"

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