Businesses and Employers: COVID-19
DEED is working closely with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Walz-Flanagan Administration, and the Minnesota Legislature to take proactive steps to ensure the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic do not cause unnecessary burdens on employers and workers in Minnesota.
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI): Updates Related to COVID-19
Stay Safe Order
Governor Walz announced the Stay Safe Order as the next phase of the COVID-19 response, which further opens retail stores, malls, and other businesses if they have a preparedness plan and operate at 50 percent occupancy. Executive Order 20-56 is effective from May 17 at 11:59 p.m. to May 31 at 11:59 p.m.
All businesses that have been allowed to reopen under previous executive orders, including critical sector businesses and non-critical sector industrial and office-based businesses, can continue operations. All workers who have previously been working from home must continue doing so.
DEED: Safely Returning to Work
Additional guidance and resources for businesses and workers, including frequently asked questions and preparedness plan templates.
Restaurants and bars remain closed for dine-in service. Restaurants and bars can continue to offer food for takeout or delivery. Barbershops and salons remain closed, but may continue to sell retail products. A phased and limited plan to safely reopen bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation starting June 1 is under development.
Executive Order 20-48 provided an exemption for workers who work in critical services and cannot 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 DEED: Guidance on Stay at Home Order.
Non-critical exempt businesses
Retail businesses and other non-critical businesses can offer 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.
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.
- Encourage staff to telework (when feasible), particularly people with underlying medical conditions.
- Implement social distancing measures:
- Increase physical space between workers at the worksite.
- Stagger work schedules.
- Decrease social contacts in the workplace (e.g., limit in-person meetings, meeting for lunch in a break room, etc.)
- Limit large work-related gatherings (e.g., staff meetings, after-work functions).
- Limit non-essential work travel (domestic and international).
- Consider regular health checks (e.g., temperature and respiratory symptom screening) of staff and visitors entering buildings (if feasible).
- Visitor and Employee Health Screening Checklist (PDF)
- CDC: Reducing the Spread of COVID-19 in Workplaces
See the question on screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms (such as temperature checks) for additional guidance.
- Require workers who are ill to stay home.
- Provide accommodation (e.g., telework or separate office) for people with underlying medical conditions.
Sick Leave Policies
- Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
- Do not require a health care provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as health care provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
- Aside from ensuring that sick employees are staying home, it's important for organizations to identify critical functions and develop plans for how to staff those functions even with elevated absences.
- Some organizations may find it helpful to emphasize cross-training and develop backup plans for those "must-do" functions.
- Working from home is an option for some people, and we encourage employers to find ways to expand its use.
- Interim Recommendations for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 (PDF)
- Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry: Workers Rights and Protections
- Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases.
- Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if staff become symptomatic at the worksite.
- Review, update, or develop workplace plans to include:
- Consider alternate team approaches for work schedules.
- Encourage personal protective measures among staff (e.g., stay home when sick, hand-washing, respiratory etiquette).
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Ensure hand hygiene supplies are readily available in building.
- COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines for Food Processors and Manufacturers (PDF)
- Interim Guidance: Mobile Food Units at Rest Areas (PDF)
Information for the mobile food industry and regulatory agencies.
- 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.
- Interim Guidance for Hotel Managers and Owners (PDF)
Guidance for operators of lodging facilities that are open for regular business, as well as those that are being used as temporary housing for people who have been infected with or exposed to COVID-19.
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: COVID-19 Guidelines for outdoor recreational facilities
Guidelines address public health protection measures for authorized outdoor recreational facilities.
- CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19
Prevention and preparation strategies for businesses and employers.
- Disaster Mental/Behavioral Health and COVID-19
Mental health and behavioral health resources specific to COVID-19.
- Food Safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Compilation of resources from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), and other state and national agencies. Includes guidelines for the meatpacking industry.