In response to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Emergency Executive Order 20-20 on March 25, 2020. The Governor’s order directs Minnesotans to remain at home, work remotely if possible, and limit their outside activities to those that are essential. The order also contains exemptions for businesses that are part of certain “critical sectors,” as defined in the order. Executive Order 20-20 takes effect on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect for two weeks, until Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., unless extended.
Despite the general “stay at home” directive, individuals may leave their homes for the following exempt activities, if they practice social distancing and comply with other guidelines provided by the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Relocation to another home or residence for safety reasons, including to avoid domestic violence or uninhabitable conditions.
- Health and safety activities, including seeking emergency services; obtaining medical supplies and medications; donating blood; and visiting a health care, dental, or veterinary facility.
- Outdoor activities and visits to public parks and other public recreation lands that remain open under Executive Order 20-04 (requiring temporary closure of bars, restaurants, and other public places).
- Activities to obtain necessary supplies and services, such as food (including delivery and carry-out); beverages; groceries; gasoline; supplies needed to work from home; products needed for maintenance of an individual’s home, business, and personal vehicles; and laundromat and dry-cleaning services.
- Essential travel outside and within Minnesota to return home or perform any of the exempt activities on this list.
- Care of family members, friends, or pets in other households, along with transporting children to comply with existing parenting time or visitation schedules.
- For homeless individuals, moving between emergency shelters, drop-in centers, and encampments.
- Travel between tribal reservations, as well as tribal activities conducted on tribal reservations, on federal land held in trust for a Minnesota Tribal Nation, or in treaty territories.
Workers in the “critical sectors” listed below are exempt from the above “stay at home” requirements, if they cannot work from home. These workers may travel to and from their home and their place of work, and they may also take their children to and from child care facilities or schools as needed. More detailed information about exempt workers in each of the industries below is available in Paragraph 6 of the order, which incorporates federal guidance attached to the order, and on the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website, which includes a list of critical industries.
- Healthcare and public health.
- Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders.
- Food and agriculture, including restaurant delivery and carry-out services.
- Energy, water and wastewater, public works, and chemical.
- Transportation and logistics.
- Communications and information technology, including the news media.
- Community-based government operations and essential functions, including election services; housing, shelter, and homelessness-prevention services; and government functions needed to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public or the government’s financial operations.
- Critical manufacturing.
- Hazardous materials.
- Financial services and real estate transactions.
- Defense industrial base.
- Tribal governments; the Minnesota judicial, executive, and legislative branches; executive constitutional offices; federal employees; and the National Guard.
- Faith leaders and workers.
- Education, although public schools remain closed under Executive Order 20-02, and the Governor has authorized the Minnesota Commissioner of Education to implement a “distance learning period” (Executive Order 20-19).
- Construction and related critical trades.
- Child care providers, including individuals providing child care in a personal residence for “critical sector” workers.
- Hotels, residential facilities and treatment programs, and shelters, including emergency and homeless shelters, drop-in centers, and encampments.
- Charitable and social services organizations that provide essentials, such as food, shelter, and prescription delivery.
- Notaries and essential legal services, including those needed to deliver critical government services; support housing efforts; ensure the immediate and critical health, safety, and liberties of the public; and ensure continuation of “critical sector” businesses and compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders.
- Critical labor union functions.
- Laundry services.
- Animal shelters and veterinarians.
- Essential supply stores that sell products, tools, and supplies needed for any of the “critical sectors” on this list, for workers to work from home, or for home maintenance.
People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, are “strongly urged” to stay home, even if they would otherwise be permitted to leave their homes for work in “critical sectors” or the exempt activities listed above.
A willful violation of Executive Order 20-20 is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of no more than $1,000 or imprisonment for no longer than 90 days.