Gov. Tim Walz addressed Minnesotans Wednesday evening to announce that while the peacetime state of emergency will continue until June 12, the state’s stay at home order will expire as scheduled, with many returning to work Monday.
Starting May 18, Main Street businesses, malls and other retail stores can reopen if they have a safety plan and operate at 50 percent capacity.
According to his prepared statement, members of his cabinet are working on assembling guidelines on how to re-open bars, restaurants, barbershops and salons beginning June 1. Walz said the reopening will coincide with a significant increase in testing, tracing and isolating COVID-19.
“When the Stay Home order ends on May 18, we are replacing it with a new order that brings back more of the social interactions that are so important in life but that still asks Minnesotans to Stay Safe. Stay Safe MN will still ask people to stay close to home and limit travel to what’s essential. But we can now gather with friends and family in groups of 10 or less. In all cases, we are asking Minnesotans not to gather in large groups. All gatherings—whether a backyard barbecue or a religious meeting at a church, synagogue, or mosque—are limited to 10 and require social distancing.”
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, who earlier vowed that House Republicans would not pass the bonding bill unless the Governor relinquished some of his powers under the emergency order, issued this statement:
“Thank you to every Minnesotan who called, emailed, and wrote to the Gov. Walz —The governor is finally listening to the thousands of Minnesotans who have been asking for an end to these forced closures and the devastation they have caused to families and businesses across the state. For some, this announcement comes too late, and their doors will never reopen.
“Many restaurants, salons, and other businesses have been planning for weeks to reopen — if they can do so safely, they should be allowed to do so.”
Hours earlier, the University of Minnesota and Minnesota Department of Health released modeling that indicated the stay at home order was not as effective as previously assumed.
Dr. Stefan Gildemeister, the state’s health economist, said there was about a 20 percent difference in how effective the stay at home order was assumed to be compared to reality.
These computer models are based on data-based assumptions, and as more data is collected, the more accurate they become with further revisions.
The latest model, with more information available on the MDH website, predicts a sooner peak epidemic time and higher ICU demand, as well as higher mortality over the full course of the pandemic.
Gildemeister, in his presentation, said the mortality over the course of this month could be as high as 1,400. He said he hopes the modeling is “pessimistic,” but reiterated that the modeling indicates plausible scenarios.