As Minnesota continues to make progress in preparing for the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tim Walz announced the extension of the stay home order until May 18. Walz made the announcement April 30.

In an effort to get more Minnesotans back safely to work while the order remains in effect, the governor announced retail businesses and other non-critical businesses will resume operations with curbside pick-up.

“From building out critical hospital capacity to launching a landmark testing strategy, Minnesota has made meaningful progress in preparing for the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Walz said. “Minnesotans have made this possible by staying home and holding down the rate of infection, but now is not the time for sudden movements. “There’s more work to be done, and we need to keep this virus at a simmer, not a boil. Our action today prioritizes the safety of Minnesotans while taking cautious, strategic steps toward getting people safely back to work.”

Also as part of his executive order, Walz strongly encouraged all Minnesotans to wear a manufactured or homemade mask any time they are outside their homes and social distancing is difficult. Starting May 4, retail businesses and other non-critical businesses may begin offering curbside pick-up. 

This will put up to 30,000 Minnesotans back to work in a safe, coordinated way. Businesses must:

• Develop and publicly post a plan for how to open safely.

• Use online payment whenever possible.

Employees and customers should wear masks and other protective equipment.

In curbside pick-up scenarios, social distancing guidelines apply. If possible, customers should not leave their vehicle. In delivery scenarios, items should be deposited outside of a customer’s residence.

Minnesotans should also continue to telework whenever possible, wear face masks in public, screen for symptoms and regularly check their temperature and maintain physical distance from each other.

District 16A State Rep. Chris Swedzinski of Ghent issued a statement April 30 after Walz indicated his stay-at-home order for Minnesota will be extended to May 18, while allowing more retail businesses to open with restrictions.

“Minnesotans were hoping for real relief from the governor’s stay-at-home orders but that, sadly, is not the case,” Swedzinski said. “This is a missed opportunity to unite Minnesotans by taking real steps toward safely reopening our state. We have the information, preparation and planning to both keep people healthy and help workers get back on the job. Instead, there is concern this extension will only cause more damage to families and businesses in our state. More curbside service might be helpful to some, but it is nowhere near leveling the playing field for our small businesses that have been forced to close their doors while the big retailers have been able to remain operational and can welcome foot traffic. I hope the governor will move as quickly as possible to help other businesses reopen their doors.”

- Image courtesy of the Internet Public Domain