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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Franson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Mary Franson

Friday, May 7, 2021

Dear Friends,

Yesterday we got the long-awaited news that COVID restrictions (including the mask mandate) will be coming to an end. You just need to wait another month to let our restaurants fully reopen and two months until your freedom to breathe is restored. Now if we’re very good, and 70% get vaccinated, Gov. Walz might even be so kind as to lift the mask mandate before then!

I cannot believe that for over a year where we go, who we see, and what we wear has been dictated by one man. I heard so many people and organizations thanking the governor yesterday, but for what? The only science he has been following is political science. In his press conference, he mentioned countless times that local jurisdictions will be able to make their own decisions about requiring social distancing and masks. Um, excuse me Governor, isn’t that what so many of us have been asking you to do all along?

It’s clear that the period of emergency is over. COVID restrictions and masks are coming to end, it’s time to also end the emergency powers. The Governor, however, is still clinging to his emergency powers as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations. No budget deals should be struck until the emergency powers end and there’s a complete ban on vaccine passports/certification. As session draws to a close, the Senate should hold all budget bills, vote to end the emergency powers and ban vaccine passports/certification. If the House rejects ending the emergency powers and the passport bill, then the Senate should send a lights on bill, adjourn and go home. (Walz is keeping the emergency powers anyway so monthly special sessions begin in June)

Minnesotans are done with the political science. We need to end the emergency powers and move on from this period of it being acceptable to ask for people’s vaccination history. Enough is enough. Let’s enjoy summer and get back to normal once and for all.

Timeline for ending COVID restrictions

Here is the timeline the Governor provided yesterday for ending all COVID restrictions and mask mandates:

May 7

Step one takes place at noon today, May 7. It includes initial steps to relax some restrictions, primarily in outdoor settings.

  • Removes limits for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers, and ends the mask requirement outdoors except at large venues with over 500 people.
  • Eliminates the state-established mandatory closing time for bars, restaurants, and food and beverage service at other places of public accommodation.

May 28

The second step begins on May 28. Remaining capacity and distancing limits will come to an end, including for indoor events and gatherings. The requirements that will remain include:

  • Face coverings indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people.
  • There will be no new safety requirements for businesses, though they must maintain their plans to keep their employees and customers safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided only by a minimal universal state guidance document.

July 1

The third step takes place once 70 percent of Minnesotans age 16 years and older – 3,087,404 Minnesotans – get at least one dose of the vaccine, but no later than July 1.

The remaining face covering requirement and the requirement for preparedness plans will end. Work on vaccines will continue, and local jurisdictions and entities may set their own mask policies.