Minnesota governor issues two-week stay-at-home order amid outbreak

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.

Gov. Tim Walz has ordered Minnesota residents to stay at home for two weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus and prevent it from overwhelming the state's health care system.

The governor's “stay at home” order begins at midnight Friday. He says the restrictions are critical to buy time to build up the state's capacity to handle a flood of infections.

People will still be allowed to go to grocery stores and their doctors and buy gasoline. But the governor extended his order closing bars and restaurants to May 1.

Schools will implement distance learning beginning Monday.

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Minnesota lawmakers are preparing to return to the Capitol to beef up the state's fight against COVID-19 and help residents cope with the economic disruptions.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka notified legislators late Tuesday they will reconvene Thursday. The House meets at noon while the Senate gathers at 2 p.m.

They said they would publicly release details on specific legislation on the House and Senate websites as soon as they could.

The House and Senate have been in recess since March 17 when they approved $200 million to help the state's health care system respond.

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