ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz signed Executive Order 21-04 last week, extending the peacetime emergency that gives the state flexibility in responding to the pandemic, including safely and effectively distributing the vaccine. Forty-eight other states remain in a state of emergency.

“As of today, Minnesota has administered the vaccine to over 140,000 health care workers and Minnesotans most susceptible to COVID-19.” said Governor Walz. “The sun is rising on the pandemic, but we need to remain vigilant until we put the threat of COVID-19 behind us. The peacetime emergency gives us the tools to keep Minnesotans healthy and deliver the vaccine in a way that is effective, safe, and equitable.”

Minnesota’s peacetime emergency gives the state the tools necessary for the timely acquisition of supplies and technology to support the vaccine effort. It also supports the expansion Minnesota’s testing capacity; protects Minnesotans against evictions and wage garnishment; provides expedited procurement power for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment; allows Minnesota to follow the advice of public health experts in combatting the spread of COVID-19; protects workers from unsafe worker conditions; requires Minnesotans to wear a face covering in certain settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and provides economic relief and stability to Minnesotans and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“Nearly 5,800 of our neighbors and loved ones have lost their lives to COVID-19 in Minnesota. While the vaccine is on our doorstep, it will take time for everyone to get the opportunity to be vaccinated,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “COVID is still a threat, and we must remain cautious. The peacetime emergency is needed more than ever so that we can continue to keep Minnesotans safe and healthy.”

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