Walz: Crowds are 'a little too big' at Minneapolis lakes

Despite some disagreement, the governor isn't going to take the hotline down.

Minnesotans have done a good job with social distancing over the past couple of weeks, but one of the hot spots for people breaking social distancing guidance is at the lakes in Minneapolis. 

"We're seeing crowds that are a little too big, especially around the lakes," said Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday. 

Bde Maka Ska, Harriet, Lake of the Isles, and Nokomis are popular destinations for walkers, bicyclists and joggers, and when the weather gets nice – as it has the past two days – they're even more likely to attract Minnesotans looking to get some fresh air. 

In wake of the governor's stay-at-home order, which still allows people to leave their homes for fresh air and runs to stores for essential needs, a hotline has been established that allows anyone to report groups of people that aren't following social distancing measures. 

The hotline number is 651-793-3746. People can also submit reports via email to sahviolations@state.mn.us. 

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka wants Walz to take the hotline down. 

"It's not necessary and it's not how Minnesotans want to treat each other. We can all show a bit of kindness to our neighbors as we manage our times and needs differently in the stay at home efforts," said Gazelka. 

Walz responded: "We're not going to take down a phone number that people can call to keep their families safe."

The state health department says you shouldn't be spending time in person with anyone who doesn't live in your household.

The strategy has been implemented to help slow the spread of COVID-19 to give hospitals and emergency management operations enough time to better equip healthcare facilities before an expected surge in the outbreak threatens to overwhelm hospitals. 

Minneapolis has recently sought to increase social distancing around some of its lakes, including by making the parkway around Lake Harriet temporarily for pedestrians only.

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