New “stay safe Minnesota” order
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has relaxed social distancing restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. His new measure means some businesses can reopen their doors and there will be fewer restrictions on Minnesotans’ movements during the public health crisis.
The stay-at-home order expired May 18. That order directed Minnesotans to stay home except for essential needs and services or if they worked in critical sectors.
The governor wants vulnerable Minnesotans to continue to stay at home and social distance to protect themselves from the virus. And large gatherings of more than 10 people are still not permitted.
Many small businesses and retailers that were closed under the stay-at-home order, will be allowed to open, but there will be restrictions—50 percent of store capacity and measures in place for social distancing for employees and customers. The governor still wants anyone who can work from home to do so.
The new order doesn’t change for bars and restaurants in Minnesota, which are closed under a separate executive order. Bars and restaurants can still serve delivery and take out food orders, and rules have been relaxed to allow them to serve some beer and wine with food orders.
In-person services, such as hair salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors, are still restricted under the same order closing bars and restaurants. The same goes for movie theaters, stadiums and similar public spaces.
The Department of Natural Resources is still working on guidance to see if summer camps and youth sports can resume in the summer, but those still aren’t allowed under Walz’s new order. The order does allow for “outdoor tournaments, competitions, practices, and sports that allow for social distance” and do not require groups of more than 10 people.
Small gatherings in houses of worship are okay, if they are 10 people or fewer.
You may go camping at a dispersed or remote campsite. That means camping in places like the Boundary Waters, where you must backpack or take a watercraft to get to the campsite. And those outings are still restricted to “single household use,” meaning you can camp with family members but not with friends yet. Developed private and public campgrounds are still not allowed.
Anyone who “willfully” violates the order is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in a jail or a fine of up to $1,000. Any business owner or manager who requires an employee to violate the order can be punished with a gross misdemeanor and a fine of up to $3,000 or one year imprisonment. Minnestoa Attorney General Keith Ellison and city and county attorneys can also seek civil penalties against businesses that violate the order.
Walz is issuing a new executive order for employees returning to work that will protect them from discrimination or retaliation if they raise concerns about workplace safety.
Gov. Walz noted that there are still unknowns about the virus and Minnesotans “must be prepared to dial back if needed.”