Gov. Tim Walz on Monday signed an executive order exempting federal, tribal, state and local COVID-19 relief funds from being automatically garnisheed by creditors and debt collectors.

The order, which deems the relief funds "government assistance based on need," shields them from claims by creditors, other than those for domestic support obligations, such as child support.

"This public health crisis falls hardest on Minnesotans who were already in crisis," said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. "This Executive Order ensures that relief funding goes toward helping folks take care of themselves and their families first during this unprecedented time so that we can all stay safe and make it through together."