Governor Walz Signs Executive Order to Protect Veterans Homes Residents

ST. PAUL, Minn. – In response to the growing threat posed by the Covid-19 virus to Minnesotans, Governor Walz signed an executive order allowing Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, Larry Herke to place restrictions on visitation of the veterans at Minnesota’s Veterans Homes. Senator Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids), DFL lead on the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee, supports the measures and their aim to protect vulnerable veterans.

“As the state responds to the unique challenges of COVID-19, we must ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the health of the hundreds of veterans in our state’s veterans’ homes,” said Senator Jerry Newton. “While these updated guidelines restrict in-person visits, the Department of Veterans Affairs will do everything in its power to balance the safety of residents and staff while finding new alternatives that will allow friends, family, and fellow veterans to connect and stay in touch.”

The restrictions ban in-person visits and instructs the Commissioner to find ways to replace visits with phone calls, video conferencing, or other methods of communicating with friends, family, and other would-be visitors. The ban does not apply in end-of-life situations and to state and federal nursing home regulatory authorities when requesting access to Minnesota Veterans Homes. Furthermore, there will be no admittance of new residents, or entry by employees, volunteers, or others without screening for signs or symptoms of COVID-19. These restrictions go into effect immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

A copy of the executive order can be found here: https://mn.gov/governor/assets/2020_03_16_EO_20-03_MDVA_tcm1055-423381.pdf.

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Jerry Newton is a state senator who represents Blaine, Coon Rapids, and Spring Lake Park. He is the Ranking Member of the Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee and a member of the following committees: Family Care and Aging; and Higher Education Finance and Policy. Sen. Newton is also a member of the Legislative Permanent School Fund Commission and the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. A high-resolution photo of Sen. Newton is available for download here.

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