ST. PAUL, MN — Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and more than 50 other Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Tim Walz Monday in response to a letter sent last week by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) informing hospitality industry leaders of stepped-up compliance checks that could result in fines, forced closure loss of liquor license, workplace investigations, and more. Previously Gov. Walz has stated that enforcement of state mandates and regulations were to be "educational" in nature rather than punitive.
"It is unacceptable for the Walz administration to weaponize state government and threaten small businesses with fines, closures, and investigations when so many are doing their best to comply with a complicated series of executive orders," said Rep. Erickson. "Instead of a punitive approach, the administration should use compliance checks as an opportunity to work with and educate small businesses that may be having a difficult time complying with burdensome and confusing executive orders. I strongly urge Governor Walz to reassess his tone and the approach his agencies are taking with our valued businesses."
According to estimates from Hospitality Minnesota, just 2.3% of total state cases have been traced back to restaurants and bars, and there have been just over two dozen restaurants specifically identified as sources of outbreaks.
The letter urges Gov. Walz to "reassess the tone and approach your agencies are taking" with restaurants and bars, and urges state agencies to be partners rather than adversaries in efforts to combat COVID-19. A copy of the letter can be found here.