North Dakotans returning home from Minnesota are now legally required to self-quarantine for 14 days, since the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added Minnesota to a growing list of states with widespread community transmission of COVID-19.
Any North Dakotan traveling back from one of the dozens of states on the CDC list must self-quarantine, except for those who work in essential industries, according to a quarantine order from the North Dakota Department of Health.
Critical workers who are exempt include health care professionals and law enforcement, as well as many other professions deemed essential by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The order applies to Minnesota even though the state has been under a stay-at-home order and North Dakota has not.
North Dakota had reported 251 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday and is also believed to have widespread community transmission, according to the CDC.
Minnesota had reported 1,154 cases of the virus as of Wednesday, with 39 deaths.
People who live along the Minnesota-North Dakota border and travel between the two states have essentially been exempted from the order, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced Wednesday.
This exemption applies to people who commute across the border for work, medical treatment, outdoor recreation and shopping.
For instance, a nurse who works in Grand Forks, N.D., but lives in East Grand Forks, Minn., can travel to and from work under the order, Burgum said, as can someone who lives in Fargo but has medical or pharmacy needs in Moorhead.
“This was really aimed at snowbirds, spring breakers and other travelers returning to North Dakota,” Burgum said. “[If] you’re coming back from Florida or Arizona ... the 14-day quarantine still applies. We’re not offering exemptions for that.”
North Dakotans returning from other states must quarantine with immediate household members and contact the state’s health department if they experience symptoms of COVID-19.
Those who skirt the quarantine order could be punished with 30 days in jail, a $1,500 fine or both.