ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment of Economic Development are talking about the process of how they plan to gradually reopen the state's economy.

Commissioner Steve Grove says DEED, the Department of Labor and Industry and the Department of Health are working with business and labor leaders.

In the short term, the question really is could we begin to have some workers go back to work and practice the same social distancing guidelines we've asked society to follow more broadly.  Our team is just methodically working to get a recommendation to the Governor about which businesses could start reopening.

Grove says the decisions will be based on facts and science, so they don't extend the coronavirus pandemic any longer than it needs to.

Walz says bars and restaurants, for example, might slowly be allowed to be opened.

Restaurants are going to look different, certainly initially, if we're able to get them open they'll certainly have fewer tables.  Maybe the outdoor patios are the way to go, now that we're getting into spring.

The Governor's Stay At Home order right now runs until May 4th. He says before he can safely start opening the economy he wants to see more widespread testing of at least 5,000 tests per day.

Widespread testing would allow you to know whether you've had the virus and have recovered and are no longer at risk of carrying the disease to the vulnerable population.  Health officials say a vaccine is still at least a year away.

Meanwhile, Grove says nearly 452,000 people have applied for unemployment insurance in Minnesota, which is twice the number the state had for all of last year. About 14 percent of the labor force is temporarily unemployed.

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