Gov. Tim Walz extended Minnesota's Stay at Home order by a further two weeks on Thursday, but did loosen restrictions that will allow more retail businesses to reopen.
The new rules announced by the governor on Thursday will allow more retailers who had not been able to open to this point to start offering curbside pick-up or delivery.
Until now, retailers that sell "essential" goods including groceries, alcohol, household goods, and building supplies have only been allowed to open, a rule that has mainly benefited big-box stores.
Here's a look at the new rules and what businesses have to ensure they can reopen.
What kind of businesses can now open?
The Walz Adminstration is expected to provide more specific guidance on this in the coming days, but broadly it refers to "retail stores and other businesses that sell, rent, maintain and repair goods that can be picked up outside, without entering the place of business and with limited interaction between employees and customers."
As well as smaller retailers, this can also include companies that offer household goods rental, maintenance services, repair services and pet grooming.
While not allowed to reopen for appointments, salons and barbershops will be allowed to sell hair and other beauty products via outdoor pickup and delivery.
"In order to provide delivery, the business must have provided delivery services previously to the pandemic," the guidance says.
What businesses can do
To ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to, the businesses allowed to reopen are allowed to do the following:
- Allow customers to pick up purchases made in advance online or via telephone and paid electronically or using other means at the time of order, whenever possible.
- Maintain social distancing of workers inside the store during outdoor pick-up.
- Insist that customers stay in the vehicle, with purchases put in the trunk whenever possible.
- Provide contactless delivery at the customer’s home or business, if eligible.
- Conduct virtual meetings with any co-workers, customers and suppliers.
- Work at workstations as long as there is adequate space between workers.
- Have in place a plan for social distancing, which employees follow.r
Examples of what businesses can't do
Here are the limitations to the order, which states that retail businesses – except for ones already allowed to open as they sell essential goods – can't allow anyone into their stores.
Businesses can't do the following:
- Allow customers into retail stores or the business premises, even in scenarios where this is preferable based on a lack of online presence or based on a certain business model.
- Deliver into customers’ homes or business.
- Conduct customer visits in customer workplaces or homes.
- Invite customers into the workplace.
- Conduct meetings in conference rooms that don't allow social distancing.
- Work right next to co-workers.
The state also says that customers paying at the point of sale is "discouraged, but allowed if other options do not exist."