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Minnesota Governor urges Trump, Biden to abide by pandemic regulations during Friday’s rallies

ST. PAUL, MN -- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz sent a letter to both presidential campaigns Tuesday, urging them to comply with the state's COVID-19 safety guidelines during the political parties' dueling rallies Friday.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to make a campaign stop in Bemidji at 6 p.m. Friday. Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is also set to visit Minnesota Friday, although his campaign has not officially announced where.

In his letter, Walz asked both campaigns to "partner with us in the fight against COVID-19."

“COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to Minnesota,” Walz wrote. “Over 1,900 Minnesotans have died from the virus, including more than 200 in the past month. Please demonstrate that you value Minnesota by protecting the health of our communities. Join us in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, keep our businesses open, and get back to the activities we love.”

Minnesota's COVID-19 guidance requires that events not exceed 25 percent capacity or 250 people.

"The organizers may be able to increase total attendance if they choose a venue with multiple event spaces with separate capacity limits, as long as each separate space is limited to the lesser of 250 people or 25 percent capacity," according to Walz's office.

The state's guidance also asks event attendees to maintain social distancing of at least six feet at all times, including when entering and exiting the event.

Face coverings are required indoors and strongly encouraged outdoors.

Click here for the state's complete COVID-19 safety guidance.

Below is the full text of the letter sent from Walz to both the Trump and Biden campaigns:

To the Presidential Campaigns of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Joe Biden,

Minnesotans care deeply about democracy. We are highly engaged in the political process and are proud to have the highest voter turnout in the nation. As the election nears, Minnesotans look forward to hearing from political candidates about their vision for our state and country. That includes visits from both of your presidential campaigns this week. While we welcome the opportunity for Minnesotans to participate in democracy, we ask that your events comply with our state’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. Partner with us in the fight against COVID-19.

Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan combats the spread of COVID-19 through various mitigation efforts. To comply with the relevant guidelines, your events generally must not exceed 25% capacity, not to exceed 250 people. You may be able to increase total attendance if you choose a venue with multiple event spaces with separate capacity limits, as long as you limit each separate space to the lesser of 250 people or 25% capacity. Attendees must maintain social distancing of at least six feet at all times, including when entering and exiting the event. Face coverings are required indoors and strongly encouraged outdoors. Complete guidance is available at: https://staysafe.mn.gov/industry-guidance/

For several weeks, the White House has encouraged us to “ensure compliance with current MN StaySafe Plan occupancy restrictions.” These rules are the best way to protect one another, allow our children to attend school, and keep our economy open. They are consistent with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from White House Coronavirus expert Dr. Deborah Birx. On a recent visit to Minnesota, Dr. Birx praised our state’s mitigation efforts. She stressed the importance of wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.

COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to Minnesota. Over 1,900 Minnesotans have died from the virus, including more than 200 in the past month. Please demonstrate that you value Minnesota by protecting the health of our communities. Join us in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, keep our businesses open, and get back to the activities we love.

Sincerely,

Tim Walz

Governor of Minnesota

Briggs LeSavage

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