Minnesotans Protest Economic Shutdowns Outside Governor’s Mansion

Kyle Hooten Contributor
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Minnesotans rallied Thursday outside Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s Executive Mansion to protest their state’s newly extended shutdown of restaurants, bars, barbershops and salons.

The demonstration began at 12:00 p.m. central time in St. Paul and continued for over two hours as attendees waved flags, held signs and drove by the governor’s mansion in vehicles adorned with protest materials. Those in attendance cited frustration with their state’s frozen economy and what they see as an overreach of gubernatorial power amid the coronavirus pandemic as their reasons for rallying, per local media outlet Alpha News, which livestreamed the event.

Protest organizers also lead the crowd in singing the National Anthem.

Shortly before the demonstration abated, protestors wrote messages to Walz on beach balls, empty cardboard boxes and a variety of similar items before throwing them over the fence that surrounds the Executive Mansion and into the governor’s front yard.

Thursday was not the first time Minnesotans have rallied against their governor’s response to COVID-19. Protestors have gathered twice before in front of Walz’s mansion and once in front of the State Capitol, reports Alpha News.

Minnesota’s original economic shutdown order (Emergency Executive Order 20-04) took effect March 17 and was only intended to last for 10 days. However, after various extensions of the governor’s mandates, the state’s bars, restaurants, hair salons and barbershops are not allowed to reopen until June 1, according to a local CBS affiliate.

This will leave an untold number of small-business owners and their employees without income for 77 days — over 20% of the year. The lockdown could have a potentially devastating effect on Minnesota’s service sector, as over half of all hospitality-related businesses are expected to close permanently, according to Hospitality Minnesota, an industry coalition, reports a CBS affiliate.

Minnesota was home to about 290,000 hospitality-related jobs in 2019, according to the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. This means that if Hospitality Minnesota’s projections are correct, roughly 145,500 jobs could ultimately disappear.

Minnesota has had 13,435 reported cases of coronavirus as of May 14, with 1,605 of those being healthcare workers, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Out of 663 deaths from coronavirus, 537 have been “among cases that resided in long-term care or assisted living facilities.” Nine other deceased people are listed as “probable” coronavirus deaths.