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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Lesch (DFL)

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Capitol Update – New Public Health Guidelines

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Last night during a statewide television address, Governor Tim Walz announced a new series of public health guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 across Minnesota. While news of a potential vaccine is promising, we’ve recently experienced some of the worst days of the pandemic while the virus continues to spread out of control.

Many of the restrictions are similar to those enacted this past spring. Starting Friday at 11:59 p.m., bars and restaurants will only be open through take-out options, gyms and entertainment venues will close, and we’ll be putting a pause on youth sports.

Pausing for COVID

Yesterday, Minnesota reached a dire milestone: 3,000 COVID-19 deaths. Cases continue to skyrocket while hospitalizations are on a similar path. In addition to the impact on patients, COVID has been absolutely grueling for our health care workers. ICU beds are nearing capacity.


Although aggressive action is necessary, these new guidelines will unquestionably cause challenges for our small businesses and their employees, many of which have already been struggling since the pandemic emerged. I'm hopeful our federal leaders will work together to enact an aid package soon to deliver the relief these establishments deserve. In the meantime, Ramsey County has a Small Business Relief Fund; more information can be found here. Please support your favorite restaurants by ordering take out meals or getting gift cards.

We all also must do our part as individuals to stop COVID from spreading. Wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and wear a mask around others. Also, if you have symptoms or have come in contact with someone with COVID-19, you should get tested. There are several new options for getting tested for COVID-19, including a saliva test that can be delivered to your home. If you do not have symptoms, it is best to get tested at least five days after the last time you were close to a person with COVID-19. With the surge in cases, note that it can take several days to get your results.

In Saint Paul, saliva testing is available every day at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium. You can find more information on all the testing options here.

While it will be hard to forgo large family gatherings due to COVID-19, please have an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if I can be of help in any way. My email address is and phone number is 651-296-4224.


John Lesch
State Representative