ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) As Minnesota continues to ramp up vaccination distribution and monitor new variants of COVID-19, Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 21-19 to extend the peacetime emergency in Minnesota. The peacetime emergency is critical to the state’s ability to respond to the pandemic, including efficiently distributing the vaccine. The federal government and 46 other states remain in a state of emergency.
“From building a vast testing network to control the spread of the virus, to standing up vaccine clinics virtually overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded swift action from state officials,” said Governor Walz. “As we work to outpace the spread of variants by getting the vaccine to Minnesotans across the state, we cannot afford to lose speed.”
Minnesota’s peacetime emergency gives the state the tools necessary to quickly establish additional state vaccination sites and acquire supplies and technology to support the vaccine effort. It also supports the expansion Minnesota’s testing capacity; protects Minnesotans against evictions and wage garnishment; provides expedited procurement power for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment; allows Minnesota to follow the advice of public health experts in combatting the spread of COVID-19; protects workers from unsafe worker conditions; requires Minnesotans to wear a face covering in certain settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and provides economic relief and stability to Minnesotans and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
“As we come closer than ever to putting this pandemic behind us, it’s imperative that we continue to look out for the safety of our loved ones, neighbors, and communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “The peacetime emergency gives us the tools we need to keep a close eye on the spread of variants, protect the gains we’ve made, and ensure we can come out on the other side of this pandemic as quickly as possible.”
Governor Walz is committed to working collaboratively with the Minnesota Legislature to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and look to the future to create to create conditions for an orderly end of the peacetime emergency. Throughout the legislative session, Governor Walz has encouraged the Legislature to begin the work of enacting into law the core provisions of the emergency response that have been helped keeping Minnesotans safe. When the peacetime emergency is no longer needed, the laws will be needed to facilitate the wind-down of the emergency and related emergency executive orders.
Executive Order 21-19 has been unanimously approved by the Executive Council, which is made up of Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Ellison, Secretary of State Simon, and State Auditor Blaha.