Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, in an effort to find a balance between a virus that is still killing more than a dozen residents, on average, per day in his state and a population that’s getting anxious to get back to work, extended his “Stay Home” order to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 17.
He did ease up some restrictions on businesses, marking the second Thursday in a row he’s tried to send more Minnesota workers back to their jobs. Walz and the Commissioner team expect 30,000 Minnesotans to head back to their jobs with the expansion of retail services. All retail stores in Minnesota – big box or locally-owned – can open on Monday, May 4, if they can provide curbside service to shoppers.
“But now is not the time for sudden movements. There’s more work to be done. We need to keep this virus at a simmer, not a boil. We must prioritize the safety of Minnesotans while taking cautious, strategic steps toward getting people safely back to work,” Walz said.
- Develop and publicly post a plan for how to open safely.
- Use online payment whenever possible.
- Employees and customers should wear masks and protective equipment.
- In curbside pick-up scenarios, social distancing guidelines apply. If possible, customers should not leave their vehicle.
- In delivery scenarios, items should be deposited outside a customer’s residence.
Republican leaders pushed back at the Governor in the immediate aftermath of the Thursday, April 30 announcement. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said Walz and the administration shouldn’t abuse the authority to determine which businesses open and which don’t. Others in the State Capitol are saying it’s time to open the entire state, despite climbing numbers of those officially diagnosed with COVID-19 and an average of 12 to 14 residents dying from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus daily.
“Those who think we overreacted or that we should ‘open up’ are wrong,” Walz said. “From building out critical hospital capacity to launching a landmark testing strategy, Minnesota has made meaningful progress in preparing for the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesotans have made this possible by staying home and holding down the rate of infection.”
The updated Executive Order, can be viewed here.
The extension will keep bars, restaurants and fitness centers closed for two more weeks.