ST. PAUL – Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, is among more than 50 Republican lawmakers urging Gov. Tim Walz and state agencies to improve their relations with businesses amid efforts to combat COVID-19.
Urdahl and fellow House Republicans filed the request through a letter to Walz on Monday. It is in response to a letter the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Labor and Industry issued last week informing hospitality industry leaders of stepped-up state compliance checks that could result in fines, forced closure loss of liquor license, workplace investigations, and more.
“Our businesses are struggling to survive during these trying times and deserve common sense and guidance from our government instead of the heavy-handed approach they’ve been experiencing,” Urdahl said. “The not-so-subtle threats lobbed by our agencies only foster resentment and cause frustration among Minnesotans who already are stretched thin trying to earn a living while also meeting the demands of mandates that have been placed upon them by our governor. I hope the message in our letter is well received so that our state agencies can do a better job of acting in partnership with our businesses to help them get back on track.”
According to estimates from Hospitality Minnesota, just 2.3% of total state cases have been traced back to restaurants and bars, and there have been just over two dozen restaurants specifically identified as sources of outbreaks.
Walz previously has stated that enforcement of state mandates and regulations were to be education in nature rather than punitive. The letter urges Walz to “reassess the tone and approach your agencies are taking” with restaurants and bars, and urges state agencies to be partners rather than adversaries in efforts to combat COVID-19.