Businesses and Employers: COVID-19 - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Businesses and Employers: COVID-19

Minnesota Employment and Economic Development (DEED): COVID-19 Information for Minnesotans
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.

Critical services

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
  • Pharmacy
  • Educators
  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
  • Child care
  • Emergency shelters
  • Homeless shelters
  • Food and agriculture
  • News media
  • Energy
  • 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.

Social Distancing

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.

Additional guidance:

Additional Steps

  • 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.


Updated Thursday, 28-May-2020 15:18:28 CDT