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Walz issues stay at home order

To slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state, Gov. Tim Walz today signed an executive order directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit movements outside of their home beyond essential needs.

Tim Walz

The order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday and ends at 5 p.m. April 10.

“We must take bold action to save the lives of Minnesotans,” Walz said. “Having served as a Command Sergeant Major in the Army National Guard, I know the importance of having a plan. While the virus will still be here when this order ends, this action will slow the spread of COVID-19 and give Minnesota time to ready for battle.”

Modeling released today by the Minnesota Department of Health and University of Minnesota predicts that more than 70,000 Minnesotans could die from COVID-19 if no action is taken, a press release from the governor’s office stated.

The governor’s two-week order to stay home is forecasted to significantly slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow the state time to make key preparations for the pandemic. These preparations include building hospital capacity, increasing access to life-saving equipment like ventilators, increasing testing, planning for how to care for vulnerable populations and assessing public health data to determine which community mitigation strategies are most effective.

“We will work with our world-renowned health care sector, cutting-edge manufacturers, innovative business community and strong-spirited Minnesotans across the state to tackle this virus head on,” Walz said. “These are trying times. But we are Minnesotans. We see challenges — and we tackle them. No matter how daunting the challenge; no matter how dark the times; Minnesota has always risen up — by coming together. If we unite as one Minnesota, we will save lives.”

Minnesotans may leave their residences only to perform any of the following activities, and while doing so, they should practice social distancing:

  • 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

“Our top priority is the health and safety of Minnesotans,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “As the mom of a first-grader and the daughter of a parent with underlying health conditions, I know that the coming weeks will be difficult for many Minnesota families, but social distancing is the most important action we can take as a community to limit the spread of COVID-19 and care for each other.”

Workers who work in critical sectors during this time are exempt from the stay at home order. These exemptions are based on federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with some Minnesota-specific additions. This includes, but is not limited to, jobs in:

  • Health care 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
  • Energy
  • Water and wastewater
  • Critical manufacturing

The governor also today issued executive orders extending the closure of bars, restaurants and other public accommodations set forth in earlier orders until 5 p.m. May 1 and authorizing the Commissioner of Education to implement a distance learning period for Minnesota’s students beginning on March 30 through May 4.