UPDATED: DFL state senators plan event in breach of Gov. Walz’ guidelines
On Christmas Eve, Gov. Walz tweeted the following reminder:
The message seems not to have been received by some in Gov. Walz’ own party. A number of DFL state senators are planning an outdoor gathering on the steps of the Capitol for next Tuesday to celebrate their swearing in (H/T Jeff Kolb):
Let us remind ourselves of what Gov. Walz’ “dial back measures” say exactly. The relevant order here is Executive Order 20-103, which states:
Except as specifically permitted in this Executive Order, social gatherings are prohibited.
Outdoor social gatherings involving not more than three households, up to a maximum of 15 people, are permitted as long as members of different households maintain at least six feet of separation from each other, and participants adhere to additional precautions for social gatherings on the Stay Safe Minnesota website (https://staysafemn.gov/). [Emphasis added]
With the senators alone, this gathering has members of seven households and would, thus, seem to be banned under Gov. Walz’ order.
If there is any doubt that this event is covered by the measures relating to ‘social gatherings’, here is how the Executive Order defines them:
Social gatherings are groups of individuals, who are not members of the same household, congregated together for a common or coordinated social, community, or leisure purpose—even if social distancing can be maintained. This prohibition includes Social gatherings include indoor and outdoor gatherings, planned and spontaneous gatherings, and public and private gatherings.
So it would seem that this event is covered.
The Executive Order goes on to warn that:
Organizers of prohibited social gatherings may be subject to appropriate enforcement action by city, county, and/or state authorities pursuant to paragraph 10 of this Executive Order.
Given the relish with which Attorney General Keith Ellison has stamped down on those business which are deemed in breach of Gov. Walz’ orders, surely the organizers of this event can expect a cease and desist letter in the post.
One does not like to be a party pooper. I can understand the excitement that these senators must be feeling as they prepare to take their seats and, also, their desire to celebrate. But, this year, tens of thousands of Minnesotans have given up celebrations which are just as important to them in the name of fighting Covid-19. If we really are “all in this together”, then this event must be cancelled.
John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.