Gov. Tim Walz on Sunday sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that Minnesota be authorized emergency protective measures through a major disaster declaration in the continued response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Funding through the declaration, if approved by the president, would help alleviate the novel coronavirus pandemic's impact on public health, state resources, unemployment, and healthcare facilities, among other community infrastructure.
“The State of Minnesota responded quickly to this public health disaster and continues to do so to the fullest extent possible,” Gov. Walz wrote, adding that without assistance from the federal government Minnesota's "ability to respond to and recover from this event will be severely impacted.”
Federal funding would allow the state to activate an emergency operations center, cover some National Guard costs and help pay law enforcement, and provide mental health support, among other areas of need.
Gov. Walz's letter requests the following programs be supported:
- Criss counseling
- Disaster supplemental nutritional program
- Individuals and households program
- Medical assistance needs
- Funeral assistance
- Disaster legal services
- Small Business Administration disaster assistance
- Hazard mitigation for the entire state
"Resources of local governments and supporting private entities are strained, and financial resources that were reasonably expected to be at the state’s disposal are being rapidly diminished by the impact on the current operating budget," Walz's letter says.
"Business revenue and tax receipts are suffering, and—without supplemental federal assistance—the state’s ability to respond to and recover from this event will be severely impacted."
Business have been hammered by the outbreak and residual orders from Walz that prohibit patrons from dining inside restaurants and bars, in addition to a stay-at-home order that has affected approximately 28% of the state's workforce in one way or another.
Nearly 300,000 (297,397) Minnesotans have filed for unemployment insurance in the last couple of weeks.
The letter adds: "Additionally, insufficient resources and capacity at health care facilities, and the already limited number of qualified medical staff will continue to diminish rapidly as the impacts of COVID-19 spread."
Walz concluded: "On behalf of all Minnesotans, I thank you and respectfully request your full consideration and expedited approval of my request.
Gov. Walz will speak to Minnesotans at 7 p.m. Sunday with this annual State of the State address.