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CDC urges all Americans to wear masks in public

Plus: eight Minnesotans charged so far for violating state stay-at-home order; Minnesota GOP chair accuses DFLers of using COVID-19 as an ‘excuse for extreme communist control’; Wisconsin governor wants special session to make primary all vote-by-mail; and more.

From the New York Times: “President Trump said on Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was urging all Americans to wear a mask when they leave their homes, but he undercut the message by repeatedly calling the recommendation voluntary and saying he would not wear one himself. ‘With the masks, it is going to be a voluntary thing,’ the president said at the beginning of the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House. ‘You can do it. You don’t have to do it. I am choosing not to do it. It may be good. It is only a recommendation, voluntary.’

Chao Xiong writes in the Star Tribune: “A Winnebago, Minn. police officer was on patrol last month when he was struck by the sight of four cars parked outside Shooters Bar. … Bar owner David M. Schuster of Winnebago was charged March 26 in Faribault County District Court with a rare offense — violating any emergency powers order or rule. … Schuster, 57, became the first Minnesotan charged with violating one of Walz’s several executive orders aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, which has infected 789 Minnesotans and killed 22. Seven others have since been charged as of Friday afternoon with the same offense — a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.

For the Forum News Service, Sarah Mearhoff reports: “In a Friday post on her Twitter account, the chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party accused Democrats of using the coronavirus pandemic as an ‘excuse for extreme communist control.’ Jennifer Carnahan tweeted in response to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Thursday announcement that it won’t open city beaches, wading pools and water parks this summer because of the contagion.”

In the Star Tribune, Liz Navratil writes: “Voters will select a replacement for former Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame on Aug. 11. The special election to select a council member to represent the Sixth Ward will be held simultaneously with the primary election for state offices. Warsame resigned from the City Council earlier this week to become executive director of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.

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From the AP: “Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called Friday for the Republican-controlled Legislature to meet in special session to move Wisconsin to an all-mail presidential primary amid fears that voters and poll workers would be exposed to the coronavirus during Tuesday’s election. … He asked lawmakers to take up bills that would create an all-mail election, require clerks to send absentee ballots to every registered voter, and to extend the time to return the those ballots from mid-April to late May.

WCCO-TV reports: “Delta Air Lines announced Friday they will be extending customers’ ability to plan and re-book travel plans for up to two years, due to the impact of COVID-19. Delta is providing waived change fees and greater flexibility to travel through May 31, 2022, when tickets normally expire one year after purchasing. This will apply to customers who have upcoming travel already booked in April or May 2020 as of April 3, or have existing eCredits or canceled travel from flights in March, April or May 2020.

From KSTP-TV: “Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday he would not file charges against a police officer involved in a deadly shooting in St. Louis Park, saying the officer’s use of force was justified. Freeman said Officer Samuel Heffernan was within the law when he shot Matthew Neil Tuhkanen on Jan. 19, 2019. According to a release from Freeman’s office, Heffernan and officers were called to an apartment building on the 2700 block of Louisiana Court after Tuhkanen’s girlfriend called 911. Tuhkanen had three arrest warrants for a parole violation in Anoka County at the time.