Governor Tim Walz announced today the signing of Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit movements outside of their homes beyond getting essential needs in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state.
The order will take effect at 11:59pm on Friday, March 27 and will end at 5pm on Friday, April 10. Governor Walz said that 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 was taken.
Minnesotans are allowed to leave their residences only for the following activities, and while doing so they should still 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
The Governor did say that these actions won’t stop the virus, however they will “slow the spread of COVID-19 and give Minnesota time to ready for battle.” 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.
Along with issuing Order 20-20, the Governor also extended Order 20-04 and 20-08, keeping bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations closed until May 1. Governor Walz also authorized the Commissioner of Education to implement a Distance Learning Period for Minnesota’s students beginning on March 30 through May 4, 2020.