Strategies to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota
Updated on May 1, 2020
Below is a summary of the COVID-19 executive orders issued by Governor Tim Walz that pertain to staying at home, public accommodations, and schools. More information on Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan's actions to respond to this outbreak can be found at:
- Executive Orders from Governor Walz
Complete list of executive orders.
- Minnesota COVID-19 Modeling
Modeling is a way to use what we know about a disease now to help us understand what could happen in the future and how our actions may affect that. This is one factor to consider in making decisions like the stay at home order and other executive orders.
Stay at Home order
Governor Walz extended the executive order directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit movements outside of their home beyond essential needs. This order extension is effective from March 27 at 11:59 p.m. to May 17 at 11:59 p.m.
The order states the following:
Masks and face coverings
Minnesotans are strongly encouraged to wear a manufactured or homemade cloth face covering at all times when they leave their homes and travel to any public setting where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery and other stores), and to follow face covering guidelines issued by MDH and the CDC until this order is rescinded. Such face masks and coverings are for source control – to help limit the person wearing the covering from infecting others. They are not yet known to be protective of the wearer and thus are not personal protective equipment.
Essential need activities
Minnesotans may leave their homes only to perform any of the following activities:
- Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies.
- Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing.
- Obtain necessary supplies and services, such as getting groceries, gasoline, or carry-out.
- Essential and interstate travel, such as returning to a home from outside this state. To protect our neighbors, Minnesotans are encouraged to stay close to home and are strongly discouraged from engaging in unnecessary travel.
- Care of others, such as caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household.
- Displacement, such as moving between emergency shelters if you
are without a home.
- Relocation to ensure safety, such as relocating to a different location if your home becomes unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation, or essential operations reasons.
- Tribal activities and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation.
- Moving or relocation, such as moving to a new home or place of residence.
- Voting, Minnesotans are encouraged to vote and to do so by mail when possible.
- Funerals, provided that gathering consists of no more than 10 attendees and the space utilized allows for social distancing.
- Weddings, provided that gathering consists of no more than 10 attendees and the space utilized allows for social distancing.
While doing these things you should practice social distancing (keep 6 feet apart from other people as much as possible).
Executive Order 20-48 allows for the list of exempted activities to be clarified, as deemed necessary by the Governor, to ensure the health, safety, and security of all Minnesotans.
See #StayHomeMN Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.
Workers who work in critical sectors may go to work during the stay at home order if they are not able to perform their work duties from home.
Critical services include, but are not limited to:
- Health care and public health
- Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
- Child care
- Emergency shelters
- Homeless shelters
- Food and agriculture
- News media
- Water and wastewater
- Critical manufacturing
- Public transportation drivers
More information is available from Minnesota Employment and Economic Development (DEED):
Guidance on Stay at Home Order
Non-critical exempt businesses
Starting May 4, retail businesses and other non-critical businesses may begin offering outdoor pick-up in a safe and coordinated way. Under Executive Order 20-48, businesses must:
- Develop and publicly post a plan for how to open safely.
- Use online payment whenever possible.
- Employees and customers should wear masks and protective equipment.
- In curbside pick-up scenarios, social distancing guidelines apply. If possible, customers should not leave their vehicle.
- In delivery scenarios, items should be deposited outside a customer’s residence.
Businesses that provide services such as household goods rental, maintenance services, repair services, and pet grooming and can adhere to guidelines are included. Salons and barbershops may sell retail products via outdoor pick-up or delivery, but may not provide services.
Industrial and office-based businesses that are non-customer facing are allowed to reopen as long as they follow health and safety protocols outlined in Executive Order 20-48. Employees who can work from home should continue to do so.
All work must adhere to Minnesota OSHA Standards and MDH and CDC Guidelines, including social distancing and hygiene practices.
DEED: Safely Returning to Work
Additional guidance and resources for businesses and workers, including frequently asked questions and preparedness plan templates.
Public Accommodation order
The previous order closing the following places of public accommodation was extended until May 17, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.:
- Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption, excluding institutional or in-house food cafeterias that serve residents, employees, and clients of businesses, child care facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
- Bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, and other places of public accommodation offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
- Hookah bars, cigar bars, and vaping lounges offering their products for on-premises consumption.
- Theaters, cinemas, indoor and outdoor performance venues, and museums.
- Gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, and spas.
- Amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.
- Country clubs, golf clubs, boating or yacht clubs, sports or athletic clubs, and dining clubs. (See Executive Order 20-38 for allowable outdoor recreational activities expansion affective April 18, 2020.)
Places of public accommodation are encouraged to offer food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service, and to use precautions in doing so to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing.
In offering food or beverage, a place of public accommodation subject to this section may permit up to five members of the public at one time in the place of public accommodation for the purpose of picking up their food or beverage orders, so long as those individuals are at least 6 feet apart from one another while on premises.
The restrictions do not apply to any of the following:
- Places of public accommodation that offer food and beverage not for on-premises consumption, including grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries.
- Health care facilities, child care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities.
- Crisis shelters, soup kitchens, or similar institutions.
- Restaurants and food courts inside the secured zones of airports.
Executive Order 20-38 allows Minnesotans to engage in a range of activities, including golfing, boating, fishing, hunting, and hiking, as long as they follow new outdoor recreation guidelines. These guidelines include maintaining 6-foot social distancing, avoiding crowded areas, and staying close to home.
Facilities that may reopen or remain open include:
- Bait shops for live bait
- Outdoor shooting ranges and game farms
- Public and private parks and trails
- Golf courses and driving ranges
- Boating and off-highway vehicle services, including:
- Marina services
- Dock installation and other lake services
- Boat and off-highway vehicle sales and repair, by appointment only
For all workplaces, it is important that employees assess themselves for symptoms regularly and go home right away if ill. All employees should practice careful and frequent hand hygiene, not touch their faces with unwashed hands, and use respiratory etiquette.
- Minnesota Employment and Economic Development (DEED):
Information and Resources for Workers
- Frequently Asked Questions about Executive Orders Related to Bars, Restaurants, and Other Places of Public Accommodation (PDF)
Information for the hospitality industry and regulatory agencies.
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: COVID-19 Outdoor Recreation, Facilities and Public Guidelines
Guidelines address public health protection measures for both authorized outdoor recreational facilities and the general public.
Governor Walz and Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker have announced that all Minnesota public school districts and charter schools will extend the Distance Learning Period through the end of the 2019-2020 school calendar year. The pair previously announced a Distance Learning Period beginning on March 30, 2020 until May 4, 2020.