Minnesota Governor Signs Stay at Home Executive Order Restricting Outside Movement

Date   Mar 26, 2020

Executive Summary: In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 25, 2020 Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit outside movement beyond essential needs. The order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 27 and presently ends at 5:00 p.m. on April 10.

Executive Order 20-20’s Restrictions and Exceptions

Executive Order 20-20 orders all persons currently living in the State of Minnesota to stay at home or in their place of residence, except to engage in certain activities and “Critical Sector” work set forth in the Order and discussed below. Violation of the Order constitutes a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine up to $1,000 or by imprisonment for up to 90 days.

Permissible Activities

The following are permissible activities during the stay-at-home order:

  • Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies (including veterinarian care);
  • Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing (while maintaining at least six feet from individuals from other households);
  • Necessary Supplies and Services, such as obtaining groceries, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), gasoline, carry-out food, supplies to work from home, essential household products, and services to maintain personally owned vehicles (including automobiles);
  • 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; and
  • Tribal activities and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation.

Critical Sector Work

Workers in “critical sectors” are exempt from Executive Order 20-20. The “critical sector” exemption applies only to exempt workers whose work cannot be performed at their home or residence through telework or virtual work and can be done only at a place of work outside of their home or residence. Additionally, the exemption applies only to travel to and from an individual’s place of work. This includes transportation to and from child care or school settings as necessary to ensure the safe care of children.

At present, the Order lists 35 categories of exempt critical sectors, which are subject to further clarification by the Governor. Critical sectors include, but are not limited to, jobs in:

  • Healthcare and public health;
  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders;
  • Emergency shelters, congregate living facilities, and drop-in centers;
  • Child care providers (child care facilities are encouraged to stay open to care for Critical Sector workers);
  • Legal services (limited to workers necessary to provide “essential legal services”);
  • The Judicial Branch (limited to judicial officers and personnel deemed essential by the Chief Justice to ensure continued operations of Minnesota’s court system);
  • Transportation and logistics (including automobile sales that are necessary to allow for essential travel when conducted by appointment);
  • Public works (energy, water, road maintenance, etc.);
  • Communications and information technology (including all forms of news media);
  • Hotels, residential facilities and shelters;
  • Education (including teachers and employees supporting public and private schools and higher education);
  • Construction and critical trades (including plumbers, electricians, HVAC and elevator technicians);
  • Financial services (including banks/credit unions, insurance companies/agencies);
  • Food and agriculture (including alcoholic beverage sales);
  • Faith leaders and workers;
  • Laundry services (including laundromats and dry cleaners);
  • Animal shelters and veterinarians;
  • Real Estate Transactions;
  • Critical labor union functions; and
  • Critical manufacturing.

The Order also extended the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations set forth in prior Executive Orders until May 1, 2020. Schools will also remain closed until May 4, 2020. Of note, the Order expressly does not restrict virtual work or telework (i.e. work from home), and encourages Minnesotans to work from their home or residence as much as possible.

Bottom Line for Employers

Non-critical employers should prepare for a period until at least April 10 during which their employees will not be permitted to report to work. Additionally, because Executive Order 20-20 provides a fairly extensive (and subject-to-change) list of critical sector exemptions, employers are encouraged to contact the authors of this Legal Alert, Charlie Roach, croach@fordharrison.comKimberly Ross,, or Elliot Buckman,, to discuss their possible exemption status. You may also contact the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work. Please click here for links to other mandates issued by states and major municipalities.

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