Minnesota "Stay-at-Home" Executive Order

By Greta Bauer Reyes and Emily Asp

On March 25, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to stay home beginning Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm through Friday, April 10, at 5 pm. The Stay-at-Home Order requires Minnesotans to stay at their home or place of residence except to engage in certain activities and what the state calls “critical sector” work. The order does not restrict virtual work or telework. 

Under the Stay-at-Home Order, the following activities are exempted: relocating to a different home or residence if a home or residence becomes unsafe; seeking out medical services, including obtaining medical supplies, visiting a health professional or a veterinarian; engaging in outdoor activities so long as people remain six feet apart from individuals in other households; obtaining necessary supplies, including food, beverages, gasoline and items needed to work from home; essential intrastate and interstate travel; and taking care of others. Individuals without a home are exempt from these restrictions. Tribal activities and tribal lands are also exempt from these restrictions.

Individuals are required to follow the guidelines implemented by the Minnesota Department of Health when outside the home, including social distancing. See clarification and updates of these guidelines.

Pursuant to the Stay-at-Home Order, all workers, even those in critical sectors, who can work from home are required to do so. However, workers in critical sectors who perform work that can only be done outside of the home are exempted. Some functions included in these sectors, as listed in the order, are: 

  • Animal shelters and veterinarians
  • Charitable and social services organizations
  • Chemical
  • Child care providers
  • Communications and information technology
  • Construction and critical trades
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Defense industrial base
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Essential supply stores
  • Executive constitutional offices
  • Faith leaders and workers
  • Federal employees
  • Financial services
  • Food and agriculture
  • Hazardous materials
  • Health care and public health
  • Hotels, residential facilities and shelters
  • Laundry services
  • Law enforcement, public safety and first responders
  • Legal services
  • National guard
  • Notaries
  • Other community-based government operations and essential functions
  • Public works
  • Real estate transactions
  • Shelters for displaced individuals
  • The executive branch
  • The judicial branch
  • The legislative branch
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Tribal governments
  • Water and wastewater

Whether a specific business is identified as "critical" depends on what specific products or services a business provides within or to support a critical sector. All businesses are advised to seek the advice of counsel before continuing to engage in work under the order. 

Additional details about these categories can be found in the governor’s executive order, as well as the guidance put in place by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is attached to the governor’s executive order. In addition, the governor’s office released guidance, including a Critical Business List sorted by NAICS industry code, which can be used to determine eligibility in a critical industry. Allowed activities and critical sector work should be performed pursuant to the guidelines put in place by the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC relating to COVID-19, as well as the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Standards. These practices include social distancing and hygiene. 

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is providing clarifications to the Stay-at-Home Order on its website. This website includes information on whether businesses are considered essential, including a place to direct questions in the event that a business is unsure whether it qualifies as a critical business.

A willful violation of the Stay-at-Home Order is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days.

For more information on the Executive Order 20-20, please contact Greta Bauer Reyes, Emily Asp, Brittany Barrientos, Robin Carlson, Pat Edwards, Chuck Hatfield, Molly Walsh Keppler, Erin Naeger or the Stinson LLP contact with whom you regularly work.

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