Governor Tim Walz

Governor Tim Walz addressed the media during the March 20th news conference.

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Walz today signed Executive Orders 20-14, 20-15, 20-16, and 20-17 to further strengthen Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These executive orders suspend evictions during the peacetime emergency, establish Peacetime Emergency Loans for small businesses, direct non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of personal protective equipment, and clarifies that Executive Order 20-09 on elective surgeries and procedures applies to veterinarians.

Providing housing stability for Minnesota families at a time of financial uncertainty, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-14 to suspend eviction proceedings during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. Loss of housing is catastrophic at any time, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, this loss endangers the health and well-being of all Minnesotans. While this order clarifies that tenants who can continue to pay rent during the peacetime emergency should continue to do so, landlords and financial institutions cannot begin eviction proceedings that would remove tenants from stable housing.

Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-15 to authorize the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to establish a Small Business Emergency Loan program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota’s small businesses and independent contractors are amongst the worst hit by the pandemic. DEED’s emergency loan program will help Minnesota small business owners who need immediate assistance during COVID-19 closures.

As hospitals and health care providers report shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-16 directing all non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of their PPE, ventilators, respirators, and anesthesia machines, report the result to the state, and either donate such equipment to a local coordinating entity or preserve it. On Saturday, Governor Walz directed the National Guard to transport PPE from storage at Camp Ripley to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Lastly, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-17 to clarify that Executive Order 20-09, ordering all elective surgeries and procedures be postponed, applies to veterinary surgeries and procedures to conserve protective equipment. Surgeries and procedures that prevent loss of life, permanent dysfunction of an organ or extremity, or risk of metastasis or progression of staging for non-COVID-19 patients should not be postponed under this order. Additionally, in the context of veterinary medicine, threats to public health, the owner, or the animal may also be considered.

Executive Orders 20-14, 20-15, and 20-17 are subject to approval by the Executive Council and will have the full force and effect of law upon approval.

Also today, the Governor and Lt. Governor announced a revised supplemental budget, allocating an additional $356 million toward the state’s COVID-19 response. The revised budget would support and protect Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would provide emergency grants to child care centers; support families struggling financially through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP); support veterans and their families facing financial burdens; increase funding for food shelves; offer small business loans; and increase resources for Minnesotans struggling with homelessness. The budget would also create a COVID-19 Minnesota Fund that would give the state government the resources necessary to deploy resources and respond to the needs of Minnesotans in real time.

In the original proposal, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor recommended paying back $491 million to the budget reserve and funding investments to prepare for emergencies, including Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This revised budget proposal leaves $811 million on the bottom line.