Minnesota Senate considers proposal to reopen businesses amid COVID-19

Updated: April 20, 2020 06:49 AM
Created: April 20, 2020 05:42 AM

Monday, the Minnesota Senate is considering a proposal on how to handle the COVID-19 crisis.

One Republican senator said he wants to see businesses reopen and said he has a proposal for how to do that safely.

The state senator's plan would put a state agency in charge of reviewing individual business plans for reopening, including strategies for social distancing and workplace hygiene.

Business owners and managers who want to reopen their workplaces would be required to submit safety plans to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

State officials would review those plans to determine whether a business would be allowed to reopen.

Applications must be approved or denied in no more than three business days.

Sen. Andrew Mathews (R-Princeton) says giving business owners a path to reopen is important when many small businesses are on the brink of closing because of the mandatory shutdown.

"I've been hearing from a lot of employees and business owners from around the state and they're saying, 'We can't keep our businesses shutdown forever;' the longer it this goes on, the more businesses are going to be permanently closed," Mathews said.

This proposal comes after federal officials laid out a phased-in approach for states to reopen, with governors holding the power to decide when each step happens. 

Trump unveils phased approach to reopening economy

Meanwhile, crowds gathered in St. Paul to protest against Gov. Tim Walz's 'stay at home' order.

UPDATE: Hundreds gather at Governor's residence to demand state lift 'stay at home' order

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