Governor announces partial ‘return-to-work’ order

Gov. Walz issued Executive Order 20-40 today which could allow 80,000 to 100,000 Minnesotans to return to work as early as Monday, April 27.

Under the order, workers in many office-based or industrial/manufacturing businesses will be allowed to return to their workplaces so long as the business establishes and implements a COVID-19 preparedness plan that includes infection prevention measures, social distancing controls, plans to identify and isolate ill individuals, and other safety protocols. Businesses are not required to submit their plan to the state, but it must be made available upon request. A preparedness plan template is available here.

The partial “return-to-work” order pertains only to workers who serve in non-customer facing roles. It also states that any workers who are able to work from home should continue to do so.

Businesses that deal directly with customers, such as retail stores, tattoo parlors and salons, are not included in this newest executive order. They must remain closed until the current stay-at-home order expires at 11:59 p.m. on May 3, unless they were previously deemed essential (such as grocery stores) or are currently allowed to operate under specific restrictions (such as delivery or curbside pickup allowances for restaurants).

The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will host a webinar on Executive Order 20-40 during which presenters will talk through the process of returning workers in industrial and office-based business back to work. The webinar will be held 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 24. You can join the webinar here.

Gov. Walz has yet to determine whether he will extend the existing stay-at-home order past the May 3 deadline, but he has indicated that reopening the state will likely be a gradual process. He and his team are working with health care partners to ramp up COVID-19 testing efforts and will continue to closely monitor the progression of the virus before making any new decisions on reopening sectors of the economy.