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COVID-19: MN Readies for Tighter Restrictions

A stay at home order has been issued for Minnesota residents in response to the pandemic. It begins at midnight on Friday, and is expected to last for two weeks. (Adobe Stock)
A stay at home order has been issued for Minnesota residents in response to the pandemic. It begins at midnight on Friday, and is expected to last for two weeks. (Adobe Stock)
March 26, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Between now and midnight Friday, Minnesotans are urged to prepare for two weeks under a stay at home order issued by the governor, in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Tim Walz acknowledged the state would not be able to flatten the curve of infections by maintaining the restrictions already enacted.

The new order isn't a complete lockdown, as people will still be able to make essential trips for supplies and medical care, and get outside for walks.

But Walz says further restricting activity will at least give health care providers more time to build capacity for what might be waves of COVID-19 cases.

"Our attempt is to move the infection rates out -- buy us time to have a surge of ICU units, and then move to the testing phase," he explains. "So, when the second [wave] of this comes through, we can flatten the curve, and we can keep it under the numbers that we need."

The governor says the order isn't intended to crack down on violators through arrests, but rather to give the state more evidence about the importance of social distancing.

The order runs through April 10.

Some Republican lawmakers say they're worried it could create lasting harm to the state's economy. But many health experts say it will be more effective in slowing the new coronavirus.

The executive order also keeps school buildings closed through early May. A previous order closed them through this week, as education officials prepare for teaching children through remote learning, beginning March 30.

With all these enhanced measures, Walz says he's asking the state to "buckle it up" for a little while.

"And we're asking for two weeks, and I'm asking for your patience, your cooperation and your understanding," he states.

Minnesotans have already grown somewhat accustomed to these restrictions, since Walz recently ordered the closure of non-essential businesses and has limited restaurant activity to take-out orders only.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN