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Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan are committed to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have taken decisive action to curb the spread of COVID-19, support our health care providers and facilities, and mitigate the impact on Minnesota families. Please see the news alerts below to stay up-to-date in this ever-evolving situation.

Minnesota Health Care Leaders, Restaurant Owners Express Hope, Urge Vigilance in Combating COVID-19

1/6/2021 11:45:08 AM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – As the COVID-19 situation improves across Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz today announced measures that loosen restrictions on important parts of daily life. The announcement comes as tens of thousands of Minnesotans have received their first dose of the vaccine, COVID-19 cases are down, hospital bed use is declining, and kids are heading back to the classroom. Here is what Minnesota health care leaders and restaurant owners are saying:

Dr. Ken Holmen, President and CEO, CentraCare

“As the new year has arrived, bringing with it more vaccine and hope, our commitment to our communities through the pandemic remains constant. We fully support vaccination, as it will be a core component of our ability to return to the lives we miss. However, we are concerned that without continued vigilance and accountability, we may see another surge in a month or two. A few weeks ago, a pandemic surge arrived at Minnesota’s doorstep. We appreciate the deep collaboration among health systems, the Governor’s office, and many others to manage this crisis. The spirit of all of us looking after each other has been remarkable and effective. Along the way, we have emphasized the need for personal accountability to manage the pandemic and its associated impacts on our communities. We deeply appreciate the personal accountability that has been demonstrated by so many in our communities. It makes a real difference. Our collective response has resulted in an opportunity to continue to reopen Minnesota. We support the ongoing efforts of the Governor and public officials to thoughtfully understand the science, create a supportive environment for us to work together, and keep the citizens of our great state safe.”

Brent Frederick, Owner, Jester Concepts restaurant group

“We are very thankful for Governor Walz’s announcement allowing restaurants to open at 50 percent capacity during these desperate times. We can now get our staff off unemployment and back to work. This pandemic has hit the hospitality industry hard, and this should help us make it through until everyone can get a vaccine. As an industry we have maintained a high level of COVID protocols, including enforcing mask wearing and social distancing, installing air purification systems, and thoroughly cleaning surfaces throughout our restaurants. We are prepared for the re-opening and ready to take reservations so we can continue to provide safe experiences for all.”

Dr. Penny Wheeler, CEO, Allina Health

“We appreciate the thoughtful and collaborative approach the Governor and his administration are taking in balancing the needs of Minnesotans while working with us to assure the health care needs are met for all during this pandemic. We remain concerned about another potential surge in COVID infections and hospitalizations. That said, we are confident our collaborative efforts and our work with the Governor’s administration will do all within our power to work together in a way that best serves all.”

James Hereford, CEO, Fairview Health Services

“The best way to support our frontline healthcare workers is to remain diligent in combatting this pandemic. Thank you to Governor Walz for continuing to follow the science, and to all Minnesotans for adhering to these important public health measures.”

The Wrecktangle Pizza Team, Wrecktangle Pizza

“At Wrecktangle Pizza inside The North Loop Galley, we not only represent ourselves, but our restaurant neighbors and community. We believe in food, friendship, and festivities, all while evolving through hard times together. We’re so grateful to our guests who have kept us going during this pandemic, whether dining inside, outside, at a city park, or at home. We’re looking forward to seeing our friends again soon as we safely reopen. Let’s continue to hand wash, mask up, and social distance so we can stay open and keep you and our staff safe. Safety first, then teamwork.”

Dr. David Herman, CEO, Essentia Health

“Essentia Health believes in science-based strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 such as limiting group gatherings, masking and social distancing. We continue to support the Governor’s efforts to slow community transmission of this deadly virus, enabling our health care system to provide our patients with the high-quality care they deserve when they need us. Although the vaccine has provided hope and a path through the pandemic, we must not let down our guard. Our actions can protect our friends, family and neighbors.”

Jackie Lee, Owner, White Horse Restaurant and Bar

"My first and main concern is to keep my employees and guests safe. After this new order, that's going to stay my focus. We enforce masking for employees and guests, limit group sizes, keep different parties away from each other as much as possible, and sanitize everywhere. For 13 years, we've served an eclectic menu, ranging from fried green beans to burgers and pizza, to pho and thai peanut curry. We're excited to get back to work serving our customers safely. I hope they can help us by following the guidelines of public health professionals, because they know what they're doing."

Dr. Marc Gorelick, President and CEO, Children’s Minnesota

“Vaccinations are well under way among health care workers and wider distribution is right around the corner. A return to normal is within sight, but distribution of vaccines will take months, so it is up to each of us to do our part to stop the rampant spread of COVID-19 among our neighbors and loved ones. That includes continuing to employ evidence-based guidelines regarding masks and public gathering, calibrated to the level of spread in the state. As the biggest and most complex vaccine rollout in history continues, we ask everyone to keep doing their part to keep healthy and safe: wear your masks, wash your hands, watch your distance, and continue to follow the guidelines.”

Dr. Rahul Koranne, president and CEO, Minnesota Hospital Association

“Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems appreciate every step taken by Minnesotans to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we know it has been a very tiring and tough journey. Our health care heroes have been at this 24/7 for more than 10 months to care for your fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, children, neighbors, and friends. Hospitals and health systems are concerned about the surge that rages in other parts of the nation and the contagiousness of the new variant. We urge the public not to let up on what you are doing to mask-up, physically distance, limit gatherings and travel and wash your hands. We urge your patience and compliance with these public health measures as we work to vaccinate Minnesotans. Our health care system will continue to work in partnership with the Governor, legislative leaders and state health officials in service of our patients and communities as we anticipate continuing to see waves of cases and hospitalizations here in Minnesota.”

Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schierer, Owner, Union Pizza

“I am grateful to the Fergus Falls community for their commitment to keeping friends and neighbors safe during this pandemic. We’re in this together. Times are tough right now, especially for those of us in the restaurant industry, but we can see the light at the end of this with vaccines being distributed across the state. I miss all of our customers, but I’m looking forward to seeing you all healthy and well in the New Year as we cautiously reopen and follow guidance to keep everyone safe—and full of pizza.”

J. Kevin Croston, MD, CEO North Memorial Health

“North Memorial Health appreciates Governor Walz’s approach to adjusting restrictions based on the current COVID-19 data trends across the Twin Cities. We understand and support the need for Minnesotans to safely regain important elements of their daily lives. That said, it is vital that we all continue to follow all public health guidelines which include wearing a mask, continuing to social distance and practicing good hand hygiene. When we all follow these important practices, we keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, while also protecting Minnesota’s health care workers and facilities. Thanks to Governor Walz for his leadership and thanks to the people of Minnesota for taking the steps needed to stay safe and protect our health care family.”

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