Senate advances legislation that allows businesses to safely resume operations

Monday, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation that would allow some small businesses to resume operations in a safe manner.

The bipartisan vote had the support of legislators from across the state.

“We’re bringing this bill forward for the little guy who could use a hand up right now,” Sen. Andrew Mathews said. “We’re bringing this bill forward because the legislature has partnered with the Governor for multiple weeks, and we’re asking the Governor to start partnering with Minnesota businesses that are going to be using his guidelines to open up.”

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The bill provides guidelines for businesses to follow to allow them to return to work and safely resume operations. The businesses are required to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health.

“This isn’t just about the severity of the virus- we know it’s serious,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said. “We also have more than 600,000 people on unemployment – I’m worried about folks not having jobs to come back to. I think it’s time the governor of Minnesota let the people go. Let them go to retail stores, restaurants, and church, and let them practice safe social distancing."

Although the bill received four votes from Democrats, it was mostly a Republican-backed measure that is unlikely to get a hearing in the Democrat-controlled House.

"Lets not let our frustration get in the way of us making solid decisions for Minnesotans," said Sen. Billy Joe Champion (DFL-Minneapolis). "We all are frustrated. I wish we didn’t have this virus. But we gotta be very clear it’s not the fault of the governor. The governor did not solicit this pandemic. He didn’t create it and it isn’t his fault. So lets be sure our anger and frustration are aimed at the right villian which is COVID-19."

Governor Walz is likely to announce a decision on whether to extend the "Stay-at-Home" order on Wednesday.