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Walz plans to extend, modify Minnesota’s stay-at-home order

Plus: Trump touts end of dispute with 3M; U of M research team develops new mask from old technology; Wisconsin’s primary to go forward Tuesday; and more.

Gov. Tim Walz
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Gov. Tim Walz
The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson writes: “Gov. Tim Walz hinted Monday that he plans to extend the current stay-at-home order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Minnesota, but with a tailored approach that allows some businesses to resume normal operations. … The governor said he is conducting a ‘sector by sector’ analysis of businesses that could reopen after the current stay-at-home order expires Friday without jeopardizing the state’s progress in limiting COVID-19 cases.”

Says an AP story, “President Trump is touting the end of a dispute with 3M to supply millions of masks to medical professionals on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus. Trump said that the ‘3M saga ends very happily. We’re very proud to be dealing now with 3M.’ The president said that the Minnesota-based company agreed to deliver an additional ‘55.5 million high-quality facemasks each month.’ Trump had invoked the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to prevent 3M from exporting masks abroad.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Emma Nelson, “Leaders in St. Paul and Minneapolis are asking for help from the federal government as they scramble to equip first responders with protective equipment amid the national shortage. In an April 2 call with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said supplies such as N95 masks, disinfectant and hospital gowns are dwindling and replacements are expensive or unavailable. … Cities across the country are in a similar position.”

This from WCCO-TV “To address the growing need for N95 masks in the state, a research team at the University of Minnesota has developed a new mask from filter technology. Cummins, an Indiana-based company which makes engine and power products, donated filter material to the cause. Bedford Industries donated bendable parts to make the masks. … The idea for the masks was partially inspired by a YouTube video posted by the Boston Children’s hospital.”

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A trio of CNN reporters say, “Wisconsin’s primary will go forward Tuesday, with polling places opening for in-person voting and absentee ballots required to be postmarked by Election Day, after courts halted Democratic efforts to delay the primary and extend the deadline for ballots to be returned by mail. The state Supreme Court on Monday evening blocked Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order signed Monday to delay the primary until June. Shortly afterward, the US Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that had given voters six more days to turn in their absentee ballots — ruling that only those postmarked by Tuesday and arriving by April 13 be counted. Of nearly 1.3 million absentee ballots requested, about 550,000 had not yet been returned as of Monday morning.”

At Politico, Zachary Warmbrodt reports, “Banks on Monday struggled to assist thousands of small businesses vying for $350 billion in government-backed loans as lenders reported that a Small Business Administration system used to process the applications was crashing. The small business aid program — a crucial part of the government’s record $2 trillion plan to rescue the economy from the coronavirus pandemic — has been snarled since it was launched Friday in large part because of technical problems with the SBA’s ‘E-Tran’ system, which banks must use to authorize the loans. … A key feature of the plan is that the government will forgive the loans if businesses maintain their payrolls. The Trump administration pressed banks to launch the program Friday to rocky results after waiting until the night before the rollout to issue guidelines to the industry.”

For CNBC Sarah Whitten says, “Entertainers from around the world will come together for a global televised special in support of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Lady Gaga said during a World Health Organization call Monday. The singer said the special would take place April 18 and proceeds would go toward funding protective equipment for health-care professionals. … The slate of artists includes: Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, FINNEAS, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan and Stevie Wonder.”