What does the new order say?
The governor's "Stay Safe MN" measure means he will let his stay-at-home order, which went into effect March 28, expire on May 18. That order directed Minnesotans to stay at home except for essential needs and services or if they worked in critical sectors.
So does that mean things will go back to the way they were before the pandemic?
No. Walz wants vulnerable Minnesotans to continue to stay home and social distance to protect themselves from the virus. That includes those at risk for severe illness, such as the elderly or people with underlying health conditions. And large gatherings of more than 10 people are still not permitted.
What businesses are going to reopen as a result?
Many small businesses and retailers that were shuttered under the stay-home order will be allowed to open, but operations will be restricted, such as 50% of store occupancy capacity, and retailers will need to have measures in place for social distancing for employees and customers. Walz also still wants anyone who can work from home to do so.
What about restrictions for bars and restaurants?
The new order doesn't immediately change the situation for bars and restaurants, closed under a separate order. Those will remain closed to dine-in customers while state agencies develop a plan to reopen as soon as June 1 with social distancing measures. Bars and restaurants can still serve delivery and takeout food orders, and serve some beer and wine with food orders.
Can I go to the hair salon or the movies yet?
Not yet. In-person-services at businesses such as hair salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors are still restricted under the same order closing bars and restaurants. The same goes for movie theaters, stadiums and similar public spaces.
Any update on schools?
Public K-12 schools across the state are closed under a separate executive order for the rest of the academic year, and that hasn't changed. He hasn't made a decision yet on what will happen with fall classes.
Are houses of worship open to the public yet?
Not yet, but Walz did say that small gatherings in houses of worship are OK if they are 10 people or fewer.
What if employees returning to work don't feel safe?
Walz is issuing a new executive order for employees returning to work that will protect them from discrimination or retaliation if they raise concerns about workplace safety.
Can I start planning my camping trip?
Yes, but only if you're planning to camp at a dispersed or remote campsite. That means camping in places like the Boundary Waters, where you must backpack or take a watercraft to get to the campsite. And those outings are still restricted to "single household use," meaning you can camp with family members but not with friends yet.
What about outdoor sports, recreation/summer camps?
The governor said the Department of Natural Resources is still working on guidance to see if summer camps and youth sports can resume, but those still aren't allowed under Walz's new order. The order does allow for "outdoor tournaments, competitions, practices and sports that allow for social distance" with fewer than 10 people.
Could restrictions return?
Yes, Walz said unknowns about the virus remain and Minnesotans "must be prepared to dial back if needed."