Gov. Walz confirms Stay at Home extension, with some tweaks

The order will be in place till May 4, here's what it means.
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Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz has confirmed that Minnesota's Stay at Home order is being extended to May 4.

There are few changes to the existing Stay at Home order, which was set to expire on Friday, with the closures of bars, restaurants and other public accommodations to continue through 11:59 p.m. on May 3. 

The closure of school buildings has previously been pushed back to May 4. 

Gov. Walz says the extension will allow Minnesota to "continue to buy time" to prepare the state's health system for the rising number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

"We cannot rest easy...this thing can explode overnight if we don't take precautions." We're buying more time by extending the "Stay-at-Home" order," Walz said.

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"What we are doing is working, Minnesota," said Governor Walz. “We are taking this seriously, and we are staying home. While Minnesota is showing lower rates of infections than our peers across the country, now is not the time to let up or allow that trajectory to change.

"Updated federal guidance and our own public health experts are showing that if we keep staying home, we will save lives – which is why I made the data-driven decision to extend the Stay Home Order until May 4."

Executive Order 20-33 states that "all workers who can work from home must do so," while workers in critical sectors who can't work from home are still permitted to go to work. That list can be found here: http://mn.gov/deed/critical/

There are some changes to workers who are considered "essential," which now includes: 

  • Workers required to maintain basic operations and inventory of a business (ie. mowing golf courses)
  • Lawn care and landscaping workers
  • Workers supporting medical cannabis industry
  • Workers supporting garden centers and nurseries, provided retailers adhere to Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture guidance
  • Vehicle and ATV sales when carried out by appointment, and social distancing can be achieved.

As for other businesses, such as golf courses, Gov. Walz says he's working with industries and the health department on when certain companies may be allowed to re-open, but warned that "this will not be turning on a light switch."

Reasons you can leave home

There are some other changes to the original order, for example stipulating that people can attend funerals provided no more than 10 people attend. 

It also states that people can leave to vote in local and state elections.

At this stage, there is no reference to whether certain outdoor businesses such golf courses will be allowed to resume, but KSTP's Tom Hauser reports that "sector by sector" decisions on businesses are likely to be made over the coming week.

Here are the situations in which Minnesotans can leave their home, 

  • Relocation to ensure safety, such as relocating to a different location if your home is unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation, or reasons related to essential operations.
  • 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 intrastate 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.
  • Moving or relocation, such as moving to a new home or place of residence.
  • Voting, including all local and state elections.
  • Funerals, provided that no more than ten attendees are gathered and strict social distancing is enforced.
  • Tribal activities and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation.

Gov. Walz first enacted a Stay at Home order on Mar. 27, having closed school buildings and public accommodations like bars and restaurants during the week of Mar. 15.

The governor has said the efforts taken to limit the spread so far in Minnesota is working, helping to push back the timeline at which Minnesota's health system could potentially be overwhelmed.

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Health commissioner Jan Malcolm said Tuesday that before the first shutdowns were announced in Minnesota, the state's COVID-19 case was doubling every 1-2 days, and since then the doubling rate has been reduced to 8 days.

But Walz says he remains concerned about the lack of testing available, which means the true extent of the virus' spread is not known in Minnesota.

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