More Than 50 Minnesota Republican Lawmakers Urge Governor Walz to "Stop Harassing Local Businesses"
JT Thaden | Aug 31, 2020 AT 9:27 pm
ST. PAUL, MN — Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, and more than 50 other Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Tim Walz Monday in response to a letter sent last week by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) informing hospitality industry leaders of stepped-up compliance checks that could result in fines, forced closure loss of liquor license, workplace investigations, and more. Previously Gov. Walz has stated that enforcement of state mandates and regulations were to be "educational" in nature rather than punitive.
“This response of steep fines and other penalties is completely out of step with the low number of cases traced back to restaurants,” said Franson. “Our local restaurants have done great work in figuring out how to safely and effectively serve their communities in an incredibly difficult set of circumstances. Instead of threatening local restaurants with punishment for honest mistakes, state agencies should be helping our local restaurants improve their safety procedures.”
According to estimates from Hospitality Minnesota, just 2.3% of total state cases have been traced back to restaurants and bars, and there have been just over two dozen restaurants specifically identified as sources of outbreaks.
The letter urges Gov. Walz to "reassess the tone and approach your agencies are taking" with restaurants and bars, and urges state agencies to be partners rather than adversaries in efforts to combat COVID-19. A copy of the letter can be found below.