ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has officially extended the state's COVID-19 peacetime emergency for another 30 days, through August 12.
In a news release, the governor's office notes the executive order gives the governor more flexibility in responding to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 continues to present an unprecedented and rapidly evolving challenge to our state,” Gov. Walz said in a statement. “The peacetime emergency has provided us tools to save lives and mitigate the devastating impacts of this pandemic. As cases skyrocket in other states, we can’t let our guard down now.”
The governor's office notes that 49 of the 50 states are under a COVID-19 state of emergency.
Under state law, the peacetime emergency is limited to 30 days, and the legislature must be in session at the time, leading Gov. Walz to call a special session that began Monday.
Minnesota Senate Republicans continue to call for an end to the governor's emergency powers. The Senate opened Monday's special session by voting 36-31 to end the peacetime emergency; however, the DFL majority in the Minnesota House is unlikely to follow suit.
According to the governor's office, the peacetime emergency allows the State Emergency Operations Center to remain activated and staffed to coordinate the state's response. The governor's office also credits the emergency powers with allowing the state to negotiate an expanded testing strategy, expand contact tracing efforts, and provide support for housing and small businesses.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.