Walz’s plan makes sense, puts all Minnesotans to 2-week test
Agree with him or not, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz deserves credit for matching his actions to what he’s been saying all along about the state coming out its COVID-19 quarantine.
His message: It isn’t going to happen fast, it’s going to be based on science, and it’s going to prioritize saving lives over reviving the economy.
His actions Thursday: Simultaneously extend the stay-at-home order to May 18 but allow a range of retail businesses to at least partially reopen, potentially putting 30,000 more Minnesotans back to work.
The reality is Walz’s go-slow approach — layered the past three weeks with exceptions that now allow more than 80% of Minnesotans to return to their jobs — should be seen for what it is: A reasonable solution that best serves the majority of Minnesotans for two more weeks.
Not surprisingly, Walz’s critics labeled it as not going far enough.
Honestly, though, the governor’s plan goes beyond even President Donald Trump’s requirements for his three-phased “Opening Up America Again” plan, which requires any state to see COVID-19 cases decline for 14 days before moving to reopen. Minnesota’s case and fatality numbers are rising and yet to peak.
Walz, though, cited more testing and increased hospital-bed capacity statewide as factors in Thursday’s moves.
The truth is this approach puts a big test before all Minnesotans for the next two weeks: Will individuals demonstrate the personal responsibility to abide by not just the basic order, but the details behind it?
Will masks become as common as Walz wants them to? Will individuals abide by social distancing? Will they resist the growing urge to gather in groups of more than 10 people? As the weather warms and more people get outside, will they abide by restrictions on playgrounds, sports courts and even boat landings?
As more businesses resume operations, will they provide the necessary equipment and protocols for workers and customers to be protected?
Walz’s Executive Order 20-48 requires non-critical businesses “to develop a written COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for each of their work places.” Each plan must address key health and worker protection components laid out by the state, and they also must comply with CDC and OSHA guidelines.
Businesses also are required to sign their plans, share them with staff and post them throughout the workplace. And employers must do health screenings of employees upon entry each day and keep that data confidential.
Even the governor himself noted the state will not be inspecting nor enforcing its expectations of businesses and consumers. Rather, the state is trusting all Minnesotans to do the right thing.
So, Minnesota, are you up for this two-week test?
— St. Cloud Times