With the expiration of the Stay at Home order on Monday and the resumption of increasingly more businesses, the Walz Administration is putting much of the responsibility for the limiting of COVID-19 on Minnesotans.
For weeks there have been calls from some in Minnesota's business and political spheres for Walz to "reopen Minnesota," saying businesses should be trusted to take care of their customers.
While the governor's hand won't be removed completely as the state's retail, restaurants and bars open over the next month – with capacity restrictions likely – Walz is putting the onus on the state's businesses and residents to protect the vulnerable by continuing to take precautions.
Chief among these precautions are masks and social distancing, with Walz strongly recommending they be worn whenever Minnesotans go to places where they're exposed to other people, and continue to keep 6 feet apart from others.
He referenced how Minnesota's "A" grade for social distancing in March from Unacast turned into a "D" last week, noting in his speech Wednesday: "This is unacceptable."
"As Minnesotans, we pride ourselves for exceptionalism. We love to be the best at things. And one of those things we are best at is looking out for our neighbors.
"We can, must, and will do better.
"I asked you to Stay Home. You did and in doing so, you saved lives. Now I am asking you to Stay Safe.
"We are counting on Minnesotans to take personal responsibility for their own health and the health of their community."
On Thursday, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm was asked if she was concerned by the scenes in Wisconsin, where bars were allowed to reopen and images emerged showing pack establishment with no social distancing and no masks.
She said that the administration has continued to juggle the protection of the vulnerable and the economic harm caused by a prolonged shutdown, and says they are trying to be smart about reopening.
"The governor remarked that the whole intent is for a gradual, targeted and careful reopening, which is contingent on businesses opening using best practices to keep customers safe.
"Don't go out if we're ill and if we do go out, limited our travel by staying close to home, wear masks, be vigilant about how we interact and with whom."
She says it's important to bring back the social interactions that are so important to Minnesota's emotional and social health.
However, she re-iterated that Walz could re-establish shutdowns if the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, and puts hospital capacity at risk, or we start seeing exponential growth in community transmission.