MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- During the end of what Gov. Walz is calling one of the most disruptive and confusing weeks of our time, he highlighted new changes and resources for Minnesotans.
Walz signed three executive orders Friday that he says further strengthens the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first executive order prohibits price gouging during the peacetime emergency. Walz says the first executive order is in response to reports of essential goods -- those necessary for health, safety and welfare of the public -- are being sold at excessive and prohibitive prices.
Related: Coronavirus Resource Page
"Individuals found to be in violation are subject to investigation and enforcement by the Attorney General's office. This executive order brings Minnesota, which does not have a statute on price gouging, in line with most other states in the United States," a new release from the Governor's office said.
The price gouging ban will take effect on Saturday at 5 p.m. Price gouging can be reported by calling 651-296-3353 or 800-657-3787. Complaints can be made online at www.ag.state.mn.us/office/complaint.asp.
The following executive orders, according to Walz, ensure that critical services continue for the state's most vulnerable.
The second of three authorizes the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) commissioner to seek federal authority to waive or temporarily modify certain requirements for federal programs -- including but not limited to the Minnesota Family Investment Program, Medical Assistance, and MinnesotaCare -- to ensure these programs continue providing support through the pandemic.
The third order allows the DHS to "temporarily issue waivers or modifications to state requirements to ensure that their services can be delivered to Minnesotans safely and without undue delay, protecting vulnerable Minnesotans and those who care for them."
All three orders will need to be approved by the Executive Council.
Walz also announced a partnership with the YMCA to provide child care and distance learning for K-6 students at 38 locations across the state. Children of emergency workers will be prioritized.
While other states have moved towards "shelter in place," the governor says there are no plans to do that here, just yet.
"At this point in time, I'm nor prepared to make that. But I am prepared in the future with the data and where we are at, to make that decision," he said.
State health officials say they are confident that mitigation will help slow the spread of COVID-19, but only if Minnesotans take it seriously.
"If people who are sick continue to go to work and go out in public and spend time with others, they are undermining all we as a community are trying to accomplish," said Walz.
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