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Minnesota businesses push for stay-at-home exemptions

Plus: Minnesota environmental laws still mostly enforced during COVID-19 shutdown; Minneapolis police announce COVID-19 case among staff; Duluth Pack starts sewing hospital gowns; and more.

Making their case. The Star Tribune’s Jessie Van Berkel reports: “A bride-to-be’s first stop would be a hand-washing station. Sales staff could wear masks and sanitize between dress fittings. Employees would have staggered hours and customers would be instructed to wait in their cars for their appointments. … Brenda Brinkman has a plan for operating Amazing Alterations in Anoka in the age of COVID-19. She’s just not sure when she can put it into action. … Businesses are clamoring for exemptions to Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order, which is in place until at least May 4. Employers have inundated administration officials, legislators and professional organizations with requests for help since the governor shuttered nonessential businesses in March.

Laws still apply. MPR’s Kirsti Marohn reports: “With Minnesota under a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — and many employees working remotely — enforcing environmental regulations has gotten more challenging. … The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said it’s still requiring industries, farms and other entities with air, water or waste permits to follow state environmental regulations. But it’s also granting leeway to organizations in meeting some of those requirements, sparking a call from some environmental groups for more transparency.”

Wishing them well. KMSP reports:A person among the Minneapolis Police Department staff has tested positive for COVID-19, according an update from Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. He did not specify if the employee is a police officer. … Chief Arradondo also noted other staff members have also gone through a quarantine period.”

Changing with the times. The Duluth News Tribune’s Kelly Busche reports:Duluth Pack is pivoting from canvas and leather bag creation to producing reusable hospital gowns in an effort to aid health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. … The Duluth-based business is partnering with Stormy Kromer — an Ironwood, Michigan, manufacturer known for its signature wool winter caps with earflaps — to make the gowns. When production is fully underway, Duluth Pack expects to make up to 1,000 gowns daily for hospitals across the U.S.”

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Profile of long-time immigration attorney John Keller. In Sahan Journal, Elizabeth Foy Larsen writes: “Like thousands of his fellow Minnesotans, John Keller was working from home last week. In his role as Minnesota’s chief deputy attorney general, Keller and his colleagues—who work under Attorney General Keith Ellison—have been involved in much of the legal backstopping and research around Governor Tim Walz’s COVID-19-related executive orders. His office also has been laboring to assess and respond to the pandemic’s impact on Minnesota’s immigrant communities.

In other news…

Election happening:School voters in Benson, Montevideo going to polls today” [West Central Tribune]

Help for heroes:Local campaigns feed Twin Cities’ COVID-19 medics, ICU nurses” [City Pages]

Bummer:Minnesota bike parts company QBP, the country’s largest, lays off 88 in mass video call” [City Pages]

Congratulations:Susan Segal named chief judge of state Court of Appeals” [Star Tribune]

Something to do:You Can Still See Ai Weiwei’s Safe Passage Installation Outside Mia” [Minneapolis.St.Paul]