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Torkelson shares business owners’ frustration with governor’s COVID-19 decisions

Recently Governor Walz made the decision to begin a “cautious” reopening of restaurants and churches beginning June 1. State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said the guidance was not the good news these businesses were looking for.

“A number of local restaurant owners I have spoken with were expecting to be able to utilize up to 50 percent of their buildings so long as they used social distancing and had a safety plan in place,” Torkelson said. “Some churches were looking to re-open at one-third of their capacity, again utilizing a health and safety plan. Governor Walz’ decision allows nowhere near these numbers, and will further cripple the business owners that he has ordered to close.”

Included in the governor’s orders, that can take place June 1:

  • Restaurants: Outdoor service only, maximum of 50 customers, masks required, six feet distance.
  • Personal Services (salons, tattoos, barbershops): Six feet distance, maximum 25% of capacity, masks required.
  • Churches: Services of 10 people or less indoors and outdoors, drive-up services allowed.
  • Campgrounds: Open with guidance
  • Gyms, personal fitness, yoga: CLOSED

Torkelson points to the continued number of inconsistencies being moved by the Governor’s Office that have many small business owners in a perpetual state of disbelief.

For example, while it will soon be fine for a limited number of customers to sit inside a hair salon, not one customer can sit inside a restaurant to eat a meal. While restaurants can serve up to 50 people outdoors – if they even have the capacity to handle outdoor dining – only 10 people can attend a church service, even if it’s held outdoors.

“Despite what you hear from the administration, these decisions are not based in science, they are being made based on the personal feelings of the Governor of Minnesota,” Torkelson said. “The church decision is unconstitutional and is already being challenged by the Catholic Church and other religious organizations. Meanwhile a number of restaurants have already closed for good and the ones that remain can’t wait much longer for the governor to allow them to go back to work.”

“There have been 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brown, Redwood, and Renville counties combined,” Torkelson continued. “These nonsensical decisions being made by the governor are destroying rural Minnesota and they cannot continue.”


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