Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on Wednesday signed an executive order directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit movements outside of their home beyond essential needs. This order takes effect at 11:59pm on Friday, March 27 and ends at 5 p.m on Friday, April 10.
Modeling released today by the Minnesota Department of Health and University of Minnesota predicts that more than 70,000 Minnesotans could die from COVID-19 if we take no action. The Governor’s two-week order to stay home is forecasted to significantly slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow the state time to make key preparations for the pandemic. These preparations include building hospital capacity, increasing access to life-saving equipment like ventilators, increasing testing, planning for how to care for vulnerable populations, and assessing public health data to determine which community mitigation strategies are most effective.
Minnesotans may leave their residences only to perform any of the following activities, and while doing so, they should practice social distancing:
- Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies
- Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing
- 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
- 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 has been 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
Workers who work in critical sectors during this time are exempt from the stay at home order. These exemptions are based on federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with some Minnesota-specific additions. This includes, but is not limited to, jobs in:
- Healthcare and public health;
- Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders;
- Emergency shelters, congregate living facilities, drop-in centers;
- Child care;
- Food and agriculture;
- News media;
- Water and wastewater; and
- Critical manufacturing.
The Governor also today issued executive orders extending the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations until May 1, at 5 pm and authorizing the Commissioner of Education to implement a Distance Learning Period for Minnesota’s students beginning on March 30 through May 4, 2020.
The Governor’s Executive Orders will have the full force and effect of law upon approval by the Executive Council.