Campaign Activities and Events: COVID-19
This information is about campaign activities and events in Minnesota. For information about voting, please see the following:
- Minnesota Secretary of State: 2020 Elections and COVID-19
- Elections and Voting Guidance for Long-term Care Facilities (PDF)
- CDC: Considerations for Election Polling Locations and Voters
Stay safe during campaign events and activities
People organizing and leading political campaigns can do their part to keep everyone safe by following Minnesota’s COVID-19 safety guidelines during campaign activities. The public, the candidate, and campaign staff and volunteers can slow the spread of COVID-19 by following requirements for wearing face coverings, limiting gathering sizes, and practicing social distancing. Stay Safe Guidance has resources to help businesses and organizations – like campaigns – understand the requirements and recommended best practices that apply to them and their campaign activities.
Additionally, our website contains guidance about how people can protect themselves and others from COVID-19, health guidance for businesses and employers, and information on various other COVID-19-related topics, including the state’s face covering requirements.
Preparedness plan and guidance
Social gatherings are currently limited to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors and do not require a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. However, an event may be allowed to exceed the social gathering limits if it is being held in an indoor or outdoor venue or event space with a defined perimeter and if the campaign develops and implements a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that complies with applicable guidance.
The following is a list of the guidance most likely to apply to a campaign event, depending on the type and location of the event:
- For events held in a venue or event space, the event must follow the Stay Safe Guidance for Entertainment.
- If attendees will receive an assigned seat and remained seated throughout the event, follow the Preparedness Plan Requirements Guidance – Seated Entertainment & Meetings (PDF).
- If attendees will be admitted on a “general admission” basis or will otherwise be moving or intermingling throughout the event, follow the Preparedness Plan Requirements Guidance – Recreational Entertainment & Meetings (PDF).
- For "drive-in" events and vehicle gatherings, consult the Guidance for Vehicle Gatherings, Parades, and Drive-ins (PDF).
The number of people or capacity allowed depends on what the campaign event is and where it will take place.
- In general, events held in indoor and outdoor venues (including temporary venues), must be limited to 25% of the venue’s established capacity or occupancy limit up to 250 people maximum. If the venue does not have an established occupancy limit, the venue must calculate its allowed capacity by following the formula explained on page 12 of the approriate Preparedness Plan Requirements Guidance (above).
- If the venue has several separate event spaces with separate established occupancy limits, campaign events must limit each separate space to 25% of the venue’s established capacity or occupancy limit up to 250 people maximum.
- Outdoor seated entertainment venues may be able to increase overall attendance up to a maximum of 1,500 attendees by establishing “sections” for attendees in individual areas that function independently of each other.
- Vehicle gatherings are subject to the requirements in the guidance above.
Face covering requirements
Candidates, campaign staff and volunteers, and members of the public attending campaign activities are required to follow all statewide face covering requirements, as well as any face covering requirements that apply to the place where a campaign activity is being held.
Executive Order 20-81 requires people in Minnesota to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when in any indoor business (including rented space in an event center) or indoor public space. Additionally, the Executive Order requires workers – including both campaign staff and volunteers – to wear face coverings when outdoors if social distancing (meaning, at least 6 feet of physical distance from any person not in the same household) cannot be maintained.
Campaigns should be aware that local governments and businesses are allowed to have face covering ordinances or policies that are stricter than the Executive Order. Campaigns must comply with any such stricter ordinances or policies that apply to their activities.
Even if face coverings are not required in a particular situation, candidates and campaign staff or volunteers are strongly urged to wear face coverings whenever it is not possible to maintain social distancing and to urge members of the public attending their event to do the same.
Exemptions and situations allowing temporary removal of face coverings
Executive Order 20-81 lists people that are exempted from the face covering requirement, including people who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical or mental health condition or disability, and children age 5 and younger.
Additionally, the Executive Order lists situations when a person is allowed to temporarily remove their face coverings. Most relevant to the campaign activities are the exceptions that allow temporary removal of a face covering when:
- Public speaking, provided that the person maintains social distancing. This would apply to a candidate or other speaker at a campaign event while they are actually speaking and only if they maintain the required social distancing.
- Eating or drinking, provided that the person is at least 6 feet away from any person in another party.
- Communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing or has a disability, medical condition, or mental health condition that makes communication with that person while wearing a face covering difficult, provided that social distancing is maintained to the extent possible.
For more information about the Executive Order and face covering requirements, see Masks and face coverings.
Minnesota law generally requires that candidates with their accompanying campaign volunteers be able to access multi-unit dwellings like apartment buildings, dormitories, nursing homes, and manufactured home parks (see Minnesota Statutes: Section 211B.20). This requirement applies only if the candidate has taken specified steps to establish their candidacy and if the candidate is seeking to represent the district or area in which the multi-unit dwelling is located.
Even when a candidate meets these criteria, state law provides several exemptions or conditions for access. For example, access by a candidate and their accompanying volunteers to any multi-unit dwelling may be limited in the following ways:
- Candidates and their volunteers may be denied entry into a particular room or living unit (e.g., apartment unit, manufactured home, personal residential unit).
- Candidates and their staff and volunteers may be limited to visits during reasonable hours and/or be required to make a prior appointment.
- Candidates may be limited to bringing with them a reasonable number of accompanying staff and volunteers.
- Candidates and their staff and volunteers may be denied entry to a facility or be told to leave for good cause.
There are additional limitations that apply to nursing homes or assisted living facilities:
- In a nursing home or facility providing assisted living services under Minnesota Statutes: Section 144G.03, subdivision 2, candidates and their staff and volunteers may be denied permission to visit certain people for valid health reasons.
- In a nursing home, the manager of the facility may direct that the campaign leave materials at a central location in the facility, rather than leaving them at residents’ rooms.
All of these conditions or limitations on access are particularly relevant because of the COVID-19 pandemic – especially when candidates are visiting nursing homes and other settings where residents are at greater risk for contracting COVID-19 or having complications from COVID-19 infection.
To allow residents of multi-unit dwellings access to candidates in a way that protects everyone’s safety, candidates and volunteers are urged to:
- Wear face coverings during all visits to multi-unit dwellings as required by Executive Order as well as follow property or facility policy.
- Adhere to all safety measures required of visitors by property or facility policy.
- Practice social distancing.
- Make a prior appointment for visits as required by facility/property management and adhere to reasonable limits on visiting hours and number of people entering the facility/building.
More generally, campaigns should work cooperatively with facility or property management to determine how the candidate and their volunteers can help keep everyone safe during their visit. In turn, facility or property managers are urged to:
- Apply restrictions or conditions on access consistently without regard to political party or office.
- Clearly communicate required safety measures to all candidates and their staff and volunteers.
The following resources may be helpful to better understand COVID-19-related safety guidelines that apply to certain multi-unit dwellings:
- Community Settings: Congregate Living and Care Facilities
- Long-term Care: COVID-19
- Infection Prevention and Control: COVID-19
Please be aware that our website and Stay Safe MN are the best resources for Minnesota-specific COVID-19-related requirements, guidance, and considerations.
See CDC: Coronavirus (COVID-19) for additional information.