TWIN CITIES, MN (Patch) — Gov. Tim Walz Friday signed Executive Order 20-89, extending the COVID-19 peacetime emergency that gives his office additional regulatory and executive powers. Minnesota’s coronavirus-related emergency declaration has been in effect since March.
“My top priority remains the health and safety of Minnesotans,” Walz said in a news release.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and the next stages of this virus continue to threaten our state. Today we extend our peacetime emergency, giving Minnesota the tools to quickly respond to this rapidly-evolving virus as we approach the fall and winter.”
Walz says the peacetime emergency protects Minnesotans against evictions and wage garnishment; provides expedited procurement power for personal protective equipment, and other equipment; allows Minnesota to re-open society strategically, while following the advice of public health experts; protects workers from unsafe worker conditions; requires Minnesotans to wear a face covering in certain settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and provides economic relief and stability to those impacted by the pandemic.
“If the peacetime emergency were to end, it would jeopardize over $50 million each month in federal funding,” his office said.
Republicans in the state have criticized Walz for extending his emergency powers, accusing him of overreaching. Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said that “Walz’s continued push for unilateral power has passed the point of no return.”
“Our government system is one that involves three co-equal branches and the state legislature can and should have a say on the actions to navigate and manage COVID-19 for Minnesota,” Carnahan added.
“Sadly, this stopped becoming about an emergency and became about total control four months ago. DFL House members can and should vote to remove Walz’s powers, but they are more interested in playing games to manipulate the general election instead of following the foundation and core values of our state and country’s constitution.”
Walz’s office says Minnesota’s peacetime emergency is consistent with the ongoing national emergency declared by President Donald Trump and the emergencies declared in every state in the U.S.