Governor Walz announced in a press release Friday that he will extend Minnesota’s COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency again by 30 days. The state’s peacetime emergency first went into effect March 13 – this is the fifth extension to date.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and rapidly evolving, and we can’t let our guard down,” stated Walz.
In the upcoming special session, the legislature has the power to terminate this peacetime emergency, since it extends well beyond 30 days. Though it is unclear at this time whether they will exercise this power, the Minnesota House tweeted that the session would be “a very quick in and out.”
While the governor’s press release explained these states of emergency enable governments to respond to immediate, “rapidly evolving threats,” Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan attributed future unknowns as the biggest factor for their decision.
“The emergency is not over. As the upcoming fall brings new unknowns in the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to acting quickly to keep Minnesotans healthy, safe, and informed during this public health crisis.”
This will mark the third special session of the year. The first initially intended to focus on pandemic-related issues, but discussions quickly derailed and grew divisive following Walz’s insistence that police reform measures be discussed. That first session’s gridlock necessitated last month’s special session, which ended with the passage of certain police reform legislation.
This pending extension of the peacetime emergency follows Walz’s recent executive orders for all citizens to wear face coverings in public. This means that Minnesotans would have to adhere to the mask mandate for another 30 days upon the legislature’s decision, at least.
Current coronavirus numbers for Minnesota are 60,101 confirmed cases and 1,648 deaths – approximately 1,245 deaths were from cases in long-term care or assisted living facilities.
The special legislative session will commence next August 12 at noon.
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