To slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state, Gov. Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit movements outside of their home beyond essential needs.
This order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 27 and ends at 5 p.m. April 10.
“We must take bold action to save the lives of Minnesotans,” said Walz. “Having served as a Command Sergeant Major in the Army National Guard, I know the importance of having a plan. While the virus will still be here when this order ends, this action will slow the spread of COVID-19 and give Minnesota time to ready for battle.”
Modeling released by the Minnesota Department of Health and University of Minnesota predicts that more than 70,000 Minnesotans could die from COVID-19 if no action was taken. The governor’s two-week order to stay home is forecasted to significantly slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow the state time to make key preparations for the pandemic. These preparations include building hospital capacity, increasing access to life-saving equipment like ventilators, increasing testing, planning for how to care for vulnerable populations, and assessing public health data to determine which community mitigation strategies are most effective.
“We will work with our world-renowned health care sector, cutting-edge manufacturers, innovative business community, and strong-spirited Minnesotans across the state to tackle this virus head on,” said Walz. “These are trying times. But we are Minnesotans. We see challenges – and we tackle them. No matter how daunting the challenge; no matter how dark the times; Minnesota has always risen up – by coming together. If we unite as One Minnesota, we will save lives."
Minnesotans may leave their residences to perform activities such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies, walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing, getting groceries, gasoline, or carry-out, returning to a home from outside this state, caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, moving between emergency shelters if you are without a home, relocating to a different location if your home has been unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation, or essential operations reasons and activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of Minnesotans,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “As the mom of a first-grader and the daughter of a parent with underlying health conditions, I know that the coming weeks will be difficult for many Minnesota families, but social distancing is the most important action we can take as a community to limit the spread of COVID-19 and care for each other.”
Flanagan’s brother is one of the nation’s COVID-19 death victims.
“Public health and health care workers around the state are working incredibly hard to protect Minnesotans from this outbreak, and we need all Minnesotans to do their part to slow the spread,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “These new measures will buy us much-needed time to secure additional resources and line up additional protections for our most vulnerable Minnesotans.”
Workers who work in critical sectors during this time are exempt from the stay at home order. This includes, but is not limited to, jobs in healthcare and public health, law enforcement, public safety, and first responders, emergency shelters, congregate living facilities, drop-in centers, child care, food and agriculture, news media, energy, water and wastewater and critical manufacturing.
The Governor also today issued executive orders extending the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations set forth in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08 until May 1, 2020 at 5 p.m. and authorizing the commissioner of Education to implement a distance learning period for Minnesota’s students beginning on March 30 through May 4.
“As attorney general and a member of the Executive Council, I fully support Governor Walz’s ‘Stay at Home’ executive order,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. “As Minnesota’s chief legal officer, I am confident the governor’s authority to issue it is firmly rooted in Minnesota law. The legislature granted the governor the authority and duty under state law to protect Minnesotans in a peacetime emergency. Minnesota, we know how to get through hard times together. This is another of those times. We can choose to let it bring out the worst in us or the best in us. Let’s choose the best in us.”
Minnesota is one of 19 states to have issued stay at home orders in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.