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Trump unveils guidelines for reopening economy, acknowledges decision is up to governors

Plus: Metro Transit further reduces operating hours for light rail; BWCA closes to all overnight and day-use until May 4; why major concert ticket-holders can’t get refunds for canceled shows; and more.

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President Donald Trump
In the New York Times, Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear write: “President Trump told the nation’s governors on Thursday that they could begin reopening businesses, restaurants and other elements of daily life by May 1 or earlier if they wanted to, but abandoned his threat to use what he had claimed was his absolute authority to impose his will on them.”

The Pioneer Press’ Nick Woltman writes: “Metro Transit will further reduce the operating hours of its two light rail lines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning Saturday, Green Line and Blue Line trains will only run between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., although 24-hour Blue Line service will continue between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Metro Transit said Thursday in a news release.”

For the Forum News Service, John Myers writes: “U.S. Forest Service officials say they will close the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to all overnight and day-use until at least May 4 to comply with Minnesota’s COVID-19 restrictions. The closure shouldn’t have a big impact at this point in the season — it’s too late for winter camping and too soon for canoeing or fishing with the lakes still locked in ice. Reservations made through May 4 will receive a full refund, including reservation fees.”

Also from the Forum News Service: “A former Republican congressman running for one of Minnesota’s two U.S. Senate seats this fall is launching a statewide RV tour pitching to ‘Re-Open Minnesota for Business.’ Jason Lewis, who is seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., this fall, announced the tour in a Thursday news release. … With Gov. Tim Walz ordering Minnesotans to stay at home and shutter non-essential businesses in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus, Lewis said Thursday that ‘the time is past due’ to reopen the collapsing state and national economy.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Adam Belz, “New data released Thursday suggests close to one in five Minnesota workers is unemployed or lost work in the past six weeks, a clear sign that the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus, one that has struck with stunning speed, is the worst since the Great Depression. … Since March 16, more than 482,000 Minnesotans have filed for unemployment, and though the government doesn’t necessarily view those workers as unemployed, that number is likely an undercount because not everyone who lost work has filed a jobless claim.”

Jimmy Lovrien of the Forum News Service reports, “U.S. Steel will idle its Keetac mine and processing facility in Keewatin and lay off 375 of its 423 employees as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hurt demand for steel. Keetac is the second Minnesota mine and plant to idle and lay off employees. On Monday, Cleveland Cliffs announced it would idle Northshore Mining in Silver Bay and Babbitt until at least mid-August, laying off 470 of its 570 employees.”

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Says Adam Uren for BringMeTheNews, “While much of the Legislature’s focus this week has been on the coronavirus pandemic, Senators passed a bill on Thursday that authorizes doctors to give prescriptions for erectile dysfunction via virtual visits. The bill was first proposed by Sens. Jeff Howe (R-Sartell) and Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), with Howe arguing during Thursday’s floor vote that the bill is aimed at returning soldiers suffering from PTSD, and said addressing the ED they suffer may help reduce veteran suicides.”

In the Washington Post, Heather Long and Michelle Singeltary write: “Many Americans woke up Wednesday expecting to find a payment of $1,200 or more from the U.S. government in their bank account, but instead they realized nothing had arrived yet — or the wrong amount was deposited. Parents of young children complained they did not receive the promised $500 check for their dependent children. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has instructed the Internal Revenue Service to get payments out as fast as possible to help offset the pain of losing jobs and shutting down businesses, but numerous glitches — affecting filers who used tax preparers, parents of dependent children and people with 2019 tax returns still to be processed — are delaying payments and causing confusion.”

The Star Tribune’s Chris Riemenschneider says, “Like a lot of Eagles fans around Minnesota, Richard Darud is finding a signature line in the band’s song ‘Hotel California’ — ‘You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave’ — especially ironic these days. The St. Paul concert vet has tried for weeks to get a refund for the two $350 tickets he bought to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ postponed April 3-4 dates at Xcel Energy Center, but to no avail. Those concerts are among the many major Twin Cities shows that were called off because of the coronavirus pandemic but aren’t offering refunds — at least not yet.