Minnesota is moving forward in the rolling reopening of the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic as Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday evening that the Stay-at-Home order will expire Monday, May 18 and be replaced by a "Stay Safe Minnesota" initiative.
Coinciding with the announcement, Gov. Walz signed four additional executive orders.
"The stay at home order is expiring and the dials are turning, but that doesn't mean we're care-free and can return to the way things were," he said.
While the stay-at-home order is expiring on Monday, the extension of the peacetime emergency through June 12 will continue to allow Gov. Walz to use executive powers to provide relief and further prepare Minnesota for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walz has used the peacetime emergency to sign more than 50 executive orders so far.
This action protects any and all workers during the peacetime emergency. The order states that "employers must not discriminate or retaliate in any way against a worker communicating orally or in writing with management personnel about occupational safety or health matters related to COVID-19, including asking questions or expressing concerns."
Employers are also barred from restricting workers from wearing their own personal protective equipment so long as the equipment meets recommended health guidelines.
Also, workers that quit or refuse to work due to reasonable unsafe working conditions complaints will not be barred from applying for unemployment insurance.
The order strongly recommends that people in high-risk categories "Stay at Home or in their place of residence except to engage in necessary activities for health and wellbeing (including, but not limited to, visiting medical professionals, picking up prescriptions and other medical equipment, grocery shopping, outdoor exercise, child care, caring for family members or pets) and work, if it is not possible to work from home. People who can work from home must do so."
At-risk people include:
- Anyone 65 years old or older
- People in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
- Anyone with underlying health conditions
This order strongly encourages Minnesotans to wear face coverings when out in public settings where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, while more retail, customer-facing businesses are allowed to re-open at 50 percent capacity, as stated in Walz's Wednesday press conference.
Additional, the order guarantees that preparedness plans for other still-closed businesses, like restaurants, bars and hair salons, will be established by May 20 for a possible June 1 return to business.
"This situation is fluid," said Walz. We must be prepared to dial back if needed."
If needed, "we'll move the dial back quickly and strategically," he said.