House GOP calls for lifting business restrictions by May 1

Published 2:25 pm Monday, February 8, 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota House Republicans laid out a roadmap Monday for lifting the state’s coronavirus restrictions on businesses with a goal of letting them return to full operations by May 1.

Rep. Dave Baker, of Willmar, said at a news conference that businesses such as restaurants, hotels, event centers and gyms need to be able to make reopening plans with some certainty. He said the downward trends in COVID-19 cases and other key metrics, plus rising vaccination rates, mean businesses can operate safely with the proper precautions in place.

Liz Rammer, CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, said no sector of the economy has been more devastated by the pandemic than the hospitality industry. She said the bill that Republicans plan to introduce this week is a reasonable and balanced approach.

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Baker said he’s ready to compromise on the details. He said he knows the bill won’t go anywhere without at least some Democratic support. But he said he wants to change the approach to reopening businesses from a series of executive orders coming down from Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to a broader dialogue with all sides involved.

The Minnesota Department of Health on Monday reported three new COVID-19 deaths and 564 new coronavirus cases as those rates continue to decline.