Walz urges Trump and Biden to follow Minnesota's COVID-19 rules

A combination photo of two men.
In this combination photo, President Donald Trump (left) speaks at a news conference on Aug. 11, in Washington and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del. on Aug. 13, 2020.
AP Photo file

Updated: 12:10 p.m. Sept. 17 | Posted: 4:48 p.m. Sept. 15

Gov. Tim Walz has written to the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Joe Biden to urge that they adhere to COVID-19 safety measures when they both come to Minnesota this week. 

The Democratic governor is reminding the candidates of state safety guidelines that limit event size and promote mask use even while outdoors. 

The state’s occupancy restrictions discourage gatherings of more than 250 people in a single space, although Walz notes that there are ways to increase attendance without violating the spirit of the precaution.

President Trump plans a campaign rally at a Bemidji airstrip. Biden’s campaign hasn’t been holding traditional rallies and has opted instead for events with attendance by invitation only.

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In a letter, Walz says White House and federal health officials have promoted mitigation efforts in the fight against the virus.

Minnesota has had more than 85,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and now tops 1,900 deaths.

Minnesota DFL Party Ken Martin said the advice will be heeded by his side.

"I have no doubt that the Biden campaign is going to follow the advice of local elected officials as well as public health officials," Martin said, urging Trump's team to do the same. "If you come to Minnesota you have to follow our rules, you have to follow the law, you have to follow the advice of public health officials so you are not contributing to the spread of this virus."

Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said there will be masks and hand sanitizer on hand for the president’s campaign stop at the Bemidji airport. But he said the campaign wouldn’t limit attendance.

MPR News reporter Tim Nelson contributed to this story.