Last Week, Gov. Tim Walz made an announcement lifting the state’s stay-at-home order, effective May 18, and laying out plans to allow the re-opening of bars, restaurants, churches, and other businesses in the coming weeks. The announcement was good news for thousands of Minnesota businesses and workers.

I have received more emails on the stay-at-home order than any other single subject over the years I have served in the Legislature. Because I agree that it is time to find ways to reopen, I’d like to thank everyone who contacted the governor to share your concerns and your determination to safely return to work.

Although this is a step in the right direction, I continue to be concerned for the many restaurants, salons, gyms, and other businesses that aren’t allowed to reopen until at least June 1. I believe if these businesses can safely reopen before then, they should be allowed to do so.

Toward that goal, I would encourage small business owners to use the guidance available through government agencies to draft reopening plans and to submit their input for safely reopening on DEED’s “Safely Returning to Work” website.

I’ve learned over the years of running a small business how helpful it can be to share ideas and experiences with peers. Therefore, I’d also encourage reaching out to nearby and like-kind businesses to see what they are doing. We can learn from each other how best to develop plans and policies for reopening and ongoing operations.

We are now all confronted with adapting to new ways of interacting and doing business. I know the past weeks have been very disruptive, and although there has not been agreement on how to proceed, we now need to move ahead in the best way possible.

The Legislature adjourned for the biennium on Monday morning, but it is very likely that we will return for a Special Session between now and June 12. The coming weeks will give us additional time to more fully understand the state’s financial situation and assess our COVID-19 response. This will allow legislators to draft legislation better suited to addressing Minnesota’s needs.

This has been my last Session in the House of Representatives. I would like to thank you for allowing me to serve our district; it has been an honor to represent you in Saint Paul for the past six years. Although I won’t be running for reelection, I will remain in office through the end of the year. Please continue to reach out to share your thoughts or request assistance.

Bob Vogel is the representative for District 20A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. His district includes much of Le Sueur County.

Load comments