Governor Walz Issues New Executive COVID-19 Orders, May Consider Closing Malls
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz held a press conference Friday afternoon updating the latest developments with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Among the significant items that affect our daily lives is the possibility of closing shopping malls. Some like the Mall of America have voluntarily closed. The sheer space of malls combined with social distancing have allowed them to stay open so far.
Governor Walz Executive Orders Include Price Gouging Ban
Meanwhile, the governor issued new executive orders and is announcing action on the following items:
- Order 20-10, Price gouging – The order prohibits companies from price gouging during the peacetime emergency. Numerous examples throughout the state reported essential products being sold at excessive prices. The order bans retailers from selling essential goods at 20 percent or more than their cost before the COVID-19 outbreak. The order goes into effect at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“Individuals found to be in violation are subject to investigation and enforcement by the Attorney General’s office. This executive order brings Minnesota, which does not have a statute on price gouging, in line with most other states in the United States,” the order says.
Those violating the order could face fines of up to $10,000 for each sale.
If you see an instance of price gouging, report it by calling 651-296-3353 or 800-657-3787, or file a complaint online: http://www.ag.state.mn.us/office/complaint.asp.
Orders 20-11 and 20-12, Department of Human Services emergency action – Two other executive orders Walz issued Friday aim to loosen some of the regulations around programs and services administered by the Department of Human Services.
Order 20-11 allows the department to seek federal authority to waive or change federal requirements for programs, including the Minnesota Family Investment Program, Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. The executive order aims to ensure enrollees remain covered. One of the changes waives Medicaid rules, allowing mental health consultations that can’t be done face-to-face.
Order 20-12 helps better protect the most vulnerable Minnesotans. It gives the DHS commissioner the power to waive or modify a wide range of state requirements for services to ensure that their services can be delivered without delay. DHS provides health care coverage, programs and services for more than one million Minnesotans.
Partnership with YMCA on child care for health care/emergency workers – Starting Monday, YMCAs ordered to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak will reopen their doors to daycare for children of critical workers – from teachers to grocers – in addition to emergency responders. Entire Y buildings will be used for child care to allow for social distancing, an unprecedented action.
A new MNsure special enrollment period – The special enrollment period starts this Monday and ends April 21.
- Tax deadline extension – The governor says the state intends to extend its filing deadline to July 15, mirroring federal action.
No Positive Tests for Minnesota Children
The number of Minnesotans who tested positive for COVID-19 has reached 115 patients. Two are in intensive care. The age ranges from 17 to 94. So far, no children have tested positive.
A proclamation issued Thursday by Governor Walz made grocery workers “Tier 2” employees, opening up emergency child care services to allow those workers to continue to stock shelves.
You can see all the Governor’s announcements here.