Home > Alerts > Key Takeaways From Minnesota Governor Walz’s Stay-At-Home Order

Key Takeaways From Minnesota Governor Walz’s Stay-At-Home Order

Posted: 03/26/2020

On March 25, 2020, Governor Tim Walz announced a two-week stay-at-home order (the “Order”) effective from midnight on Friday, March 27 until midnight on Friday, April 10 seeking to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Executive orders, when issued, have the impact of law. The Order requires most Minnesotans to limit their movement and travel during this period. Individuals are allowed to continue to engage in certain essential activities (both work in essential industries and travel to obtain necessary items, including groceries and medical care), but prohibits most other travel and activities in Minnesota.

What does the Order prohibit? The Order requires persons living in Minnesota to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in certain exempt activities or work in critical industry sectors (“CIS”).

What activities does the Order allow? The Order allows all individuals to:

  • Relocate to ensure safety;
  • Seek medical care, medicines, and emergency services (including dental and veterinary care);
  • Engage in outdoor activities, including walking, hiking, running, biking, driving for pleasure, hunting or fishing, provided that they remain at least six feet apart;
  • Obtain necessary supplies or services, including food, beverages, gasoline, supplies needed to work from home, and products needed to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of homes and residences, businesses and personally owned vehicles;
  • Travel to engage in exempt activities and return home;
  • Care for others or seek shelter;
  • Tribal activities and activities on tribal lands; and
  • Engage in work deemed to be “critical.”

Does the Order impact my business? Governor Walz’s Order references critical infrastructure sectors (“CIS”) determined by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”). Pursuant to the guidance provided by CISA, companies classified within one of the sixteen (16) CIS categories, have a responsibility to continue operations, even when a state orders most individuals to stay at home, to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Minnesota’s Order specifically exempts the 16 CIS categories, along with certain other business sectors. The full list of industries/types of work exempt from Minnesota’s Order are:

  • Healthcare and public health
  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
  • Food and agriculture
  • Energy
  • Water and wastewater
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Public works
  • Communications and information technology
  • Community-based government operations and essential functions
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Hazardous materials
  • Financial services
  • Chemical
  • Defense industrial base
  • Tribal Governments
  • The Judicial Branch
  • The Executive Branch
  • Executive Constitutional Offices
  • The Legislative Branch
  • Federal Employees
  • National Guard
  • Faith leaders and workers
  • Education
  • Construction and critical trades
  • Child care providers
  • Hotels, residential facilities and shelters
  • Shelters for displaced individuals
  • Charitable and social services organizations
  • Legal services
  • Notaries
  • Critical Labor Union Functions
  • Laundry services
  • Animal shelters and veterinarians
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Essential Supply Stores

The Order does not restrict virtual work or telework (i.e. work from home), and Minnesotans working in any field are encouraged to work from their home or residence as much as possible.

What steps should I take to ensure my vendors, customers and employees know that we are a CIS organization? There are several issues that every organization should consider. First, letters may be sent to your clients indicating that you are a CIS, and informing them of your continuing operations. Second, you should inform your vendors, suppliers and service providers of your status as a CIS and of their derivative role to ensure that your organization may continue to perform your critical functions. And third, you should inform your employees that you are a CIS and that they must continue to work, if at all possible, even though school shutdowns and other disruptions may make this more difficult.

How does the Order impact earlier orders? The Order continues and extends Minnesota’s previous closure of bars, restaurants and public venues until May 1 and appears to indicate public schools will be closed until May 4.

A list of frequently asked questions on the Order is available here. Allowed activities and work performed in the above Critical Sectors should be conducted in a manner that adheres to Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Standards and the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC Guidelines related to COVID-19, including social distancing and hygiene, to the maximum extent possible.

While the Order urges all Minnesotans to voluntarily comply with the Order, Executive Orders have the force of law and the state is working with law enforcement officials to support the order.

For additional COVID-19 updates and resources, please see Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr’s COVID-19 Resource Page