Tim Walz coronavirus shutdown draws Minnesota Republicans' ire

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Minnesota Republicans on Wednesday ripped Democratic Gov. Tim Walz after he issued a four-week prohibition on social gatherings, fitness centers and in-person dining at restaurants and bars, saying he was hurting small businesses.

Mr. Walz announced that the shutdown restrictions would kick in at 11:59 p.m. Friday and remain in effect until Dec. 18 as novel coronavirus cases continue to rise and deaths surpassed 3,000 statewide.

“We are at a breaking point,” Mr. Walz said in a statement. “As hospitals near the crisis of turning away new patients, continuing as things are is simply not sustainable. The actions announced today will help prevent more families from losing a loved one and ensure our hospitals can treat those who fall ill.”

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said that the governor’s “unilateral decisions to shut down our economy again is disconcerting, especially as we enter the holiday season.”

“This has already been a difficult year for Minnesota’s small businesses and Governor Walz is not even giving them a fighting chance,” said Ms. Carnahan.

She noted that adult and youth sports would also be shut down, which she called “probably the worst decision Walz has made throughout the pandemic.”

“The data shows that youth sports aren’t responsible for the spread of the virus,” Ms. Carnahan said. “Given the mess that public schools are in right now, sports is the only normal thing that a lot of kids have in their lives. This decision will set off a cascade of unintended consequences for an entire generation of Minnesotans.”

The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday reported 5,102 confirmed new cases, pushing the state’s total to 242,053. State cases are expected to exceed 300,000 cases at some point next week.

Multiple Democrat-led states, including Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, have reenacted shutdown orders as the holiday season approaches in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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