Gov. Tim Walz has announced he is expanding the restrictions on movement as he steps up Minnesota's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a Wednesday press conference, the governor announced Minnesota would become the latest state to impose a stricter "shelter in place" order, starting Friday at 11:59 p.m.
However, the order is only going to be in place for 2 weeks, with the intention that the order will be loosened at the end of this period and the community mitigation efforts already in place continue.
That includes the closure of dine-in services at bars and restaurants, which are being extended to May 1, while a number of essential industries and businesses can continue to operate.
Gov. Walz says that this will not stop the infection rate, saying models suggest that more than 2 million Minnesotans will still get COVID-19 at some point over the coming months.
There is no longer any question of "flattening the curve" in reducing the number of infections, because there wasn't sufficient testing kits available when the outbreak started to do this.
However, what a shelter in place order will do – along with the other mitigation tactics already in place – is push back the dates at which COVID-19 peaks in Minnesota.
If the state did zero mitigation, the epidemic would peak in 9 weeks and ICU capacity would be reached in 6 weeks.
With these measures in place, infection rates are expected to peak in 14 weeks and ICU capacity will be reached in 11 weeks, though there will in the meantime be efforts to increase the number of ICU beds.
He said he is trying to balance public health while limiting the damage to the economy, saying "I don't think it's prudent to shelter in place till a vaccine is there."
"I'm asking for your patience and your cooperation and your understanding," he said. "We're doing everything we can on the back end to provide a safety net.
What will it mean
Here's a look at some of the restrictions that will be put in place amid the new order.
Here are the activities that you can still leave the house for:
- Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies
- Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing
- Necessary Supplies and Services, such as getting groceries, gasoline, or carry-out
- Essential and interstate travel, such as returning to a home from outside this state
- Care of others, such as caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household
- Displacement, such as moving between emergency shelters if you are without a home
- Relocation to ensure safety, such as relocating to a different location if your home has been unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation, or essential operations reasons
- Tribal activities and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation
And here are the essential businesses and workers that will still be permitted to operate:
- 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;
- Water and wastewater; and
- Critical manufacturing.