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Walz moves toward reopening economy

The nation’s governors, including Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, have been trying to respond appropriately to the coronavirus pandemic. In Minnesota, this has meant a stay-at-home order that has shut down much of the state’s business community and affected the lives of many workers. Unemployment in the state, and nationally, has soared. The state’s tax revenues have taken a hit, and Minnesota faces a massive budget deficit.

All of this is weighed against the human toll of COVID-19 cases and, tragically, the deaths caused by the outbreak.

And it is a scale, even though that may sound harsh. Because exposure to the virus is likely for everyone over time. In fact, COVID-19 may simply become part of life, according to the World Health Organization. Treatments may be years away. In the meantime, there are dramatic human costs to shutting down the economy. Food insecurity is on the rise. Medical visits are being put off. Abject poverty looms for many. Poverty and despair are deadly too.

Human beings need to work (produce things) to survive. They need to interact. Yet the virus threatens the normal order of things. So the question of responses remains.

Walz on Wednesday took action to move Minnesota back toward normal. He is letting his stay-at-home order expire Monday. Retail stores can reopen, with a limit on the number of customers and with proper social distancing. Walz is looking for ways to subsequently reopen bars, restaurants and salons on June 1. We appreciate the governor’s action. It is true that more virus cases and deaths will ensue, but he is caught between the rock and the hard place, as are we all.

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