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DIGGING DEEPER: A tale of two states

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(KTTC) -- More than 1.5 million people have tested positive in the United States for the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Since the outbreak started in the United States, it has been largely up to the governors of each state to determine how to best to handle it.

Not every state has had the same approach, and not every state has had the same situation.

The responses from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds have been different.

"As our state starts our 163rd year, we face a challenge we've never seen before COVID-19 and a global pandemic," Walz said.

"From the start, Iowans have risen to the occasion. We know it would take all of us to limit the spread of COVID-19, protect the health of our most vulnerable," Reynolds said.

Both governors approached their states fights in two completely different ways.

"It's not sustainable for us to continue to lock the state down. We need to start to open it up in a responsible manner," Reynolds said.

"Seeing what was coming we told you we weren't ready we asked you to slow the spread of the virus by staying home. We told you we needed time to fight this fight," Walz said.

As of Thursday, May 21, here are the numbers:

In Minnesota, more than 170,000 tests have been completed with more than 18,000 people testing positive. Health officials said 809 Minnesotans have died from the virus with majority of those deaths being reported in long-term care facilities.

Iowa has completed more than 115,000 tests, with more than 15,000 people testing positive. Health officials report that 404 Iowans have died from the virus, with 47 percent of those deaths reported in people older than 80 years old.

Minnesota does have more cases and deaths than Iowa, but has also tested 55,000 more people.

In Minnesota, Walz ordered the statewide elimination of dine-in service for bars and restaurants on March 16, and the stay-at-home order for all residents the week after.

Governor Kim Reynolds divided her state into regions and decided what would be open or closed at the county level. That was on April 26. There was also no stay-at-home order for Iowa at any point.

(Top Left) Jane Bloomingdale, (Top Right) Sharon Steckman, (Bottom Left) Tina Liebling, (Bottom Right) Steve Drazkooski.

We wanted to hear from Iowa and Minnesota lawmakers about how they feel both governors are handling the COVID-19 situation.

In Iowa, we spoke with Jane Bloomingdale, Republican Representative for House District 51, and Sharon Steckman, Democratic State Representative House District 53.

"I really think she's done a good job and asked Iowans to be personally responsible," Bloomingdale said. "It's a hard job I'll give her that, but I really think we need more transparency. I just worry that what we are doing now is going to come back at us with more cases. I hope I'm wrong. I really hope I'm wrong, " Steckman added.

In Minnesota, we spoke with Tina Liebling, Democratic- Farmer Labor Representative for District 26A, and Steve Drazkowski, Republican Representative for District 21B.

"I think Governor Walz has done a really good job in these most incredibly difficult circumstances and again I don't agree with every single decision he's made, but I do trust that he's trying to do the best he can for the people of this state," Liebling said.

"Big government is killing us and we have to stop. I'm not really seeing any good that's coming out of the Governor Walz's approach," Drazkowski added.

While dine-in restaurants and hair salons are still closed in Minnesota, across the border it's a different story and a boost in Iowa's economy.

One hair salon owner in Iowa said clients have shared that the first place they've been since March is her salon.

Signatures Supper Club Owner Rhonda Taylor

Signatures Supper Club in Northwood Iowa opened up for dine-in service Thursday night. Two weeks after it was given the go ahead. Owner Rhonda Taylor explains why she waited.

"When they first came back and said we could re-open we were scared like everybody else so we then kinda didn't do it right away," Taylor said. "We were of the opinion that we thought [Governor Reynolds] should maybe wait just a little."

For Signatures Supper Club, Taylor said they see customers from all over, especially from Minnesota being only three miles from the border.

It didn't surprise her when on the night she opened for dine-in service, every single table was from Minnesota except for one.

There's excitement among restaurant owners in the land of 10,000 lakes, but there's also nervousness about moving in that direction.

"We're just excited to open. It's exciting to get a date," Ryan Brevig, SMOAK owner said. "Part of us that are excited and then there's a part of us that's still nervous because we don't know what exactly the future is going to hold," Lindsay Zubay, Hot Chip Burger Bar owner stated.

The future looks different depending on where you are. 2020 has proven to become a year no one will soon forget so we wanted to hear from residents in both states.

Iowa Teacher Samantha Patterson

"I think [Governor Reynolds] has done the best job she can. It's always been difficult to kinda say with the hot spots and what not," Samantha Patterson, an Iowa teacher said.

Though it has been difficult, she said she's learned a few things along the way.

"Keep with that social distancing, I think it's helped a ton, but don't necessarily be afraid to be out there," Patterson said.

Minnesota Resident Ray Carroll

We caught up with Minnesotan Ray Carroll, on his way back to Chisago City, after spending the winter months in Arizona, about how Walz is handling the situation.

"I think he's doing a great job. I think people sometimes wanna open up to way to quickly," he said.

Lastly we ran into Jean, a trucker from Minnesota who has no strong feelings saying, "It'll change. It'll get better. I just don't have any strong feelings about it."

Strong feelings or not, it's an ever changing pandemic, and we're all coping.

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," Patterson smiled.

Now it'll be a while before the impacts of recent changes, including the new reopening announcements on Wednesday, will be seen.

Two states, different processes, and neither leader wanting to unnecessarily put people's lives at risk.

Ubah Ali

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