Governor Tim Walz today sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting a major disaster declaration to authorize emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, to combat COVID-19. The funding would help mitigate the pandemic’s impact on public health, state resources, unemployment, and community infrastructure such as health care facilities.
“The State of Minnesota responded quickly to this public health disaster and continues to do so to the fullest extent possible,” Governor Walz wrote in the letter. He added that without federal assistance, “the state’s ability to respond to and recover from this event will be severely impacted.”
Under a disaster declaration, reimbursable activities typically include activation of an emergency operations center, National Guard costs, law enforcement, mental health support, and other measures necessary to protect public health and safety.
On March 13, 2020, Governor Walz declared a peacetime emergency in Minnesota, and the President declared a nationwide emergency due to COVID-19. On March 20, Governor Walz signed a COVID-19 agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), permitting FEMA to provide Minnesota with federal emergency relief funds. Today’s request of FEMA is intended to unlock Individual Assistance programs for the State.
The letter requests authorization for funding to support crisis counseling, supplemental nutrition programs, medical assistance, funeral assistance, legal services, and statewide hazard mitigation.