Tim Walz addressed the state via video conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the state's ongoing efforts to deal with COVID-19, including a couple key things impacting everyone in the state.

Governor Walz highlighted a strategy called "smart mitigation", designed to mitigate the COVID-19 public health threat while trying to prevent a massive surge to the state's limited intensive care units and allow for time to continue to develop treatment methods and expand treatment facilities.

The key item of note is that Governor Walz is issuing an order to stay at home, effective at 11:59 pm March 27, remaining in effect through Friday, April 10. This order includes an extension of bars, restaurants, and other included businesses and venues until 5 pm on Friday, May 1.

The order also has schools shifting into distance learning from Monday, March 30 through at least May 4, 2020. What that distance learning looks like will vary from district to district and school to school, and may be conducted online or through mailed correspondence.

Governor Walz explained that the executive order to stay at home does not mean you cannot leave under any circumstances. Rather, it asks residents to stay home unless doing essential tasks in the following categories:

  • Health and safety activities such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies
  • Outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, biking, running, and various other activities, reminding the public that while fresh air and exercise are important, you should still maintain your space.
  • Getting necessary supplies such as carryout food, groceries fuel, cleaning products, etc.
  • Essential and interstate travel such as returning home from out of state or going to and from work if you work in an essential role
  • Care of others, whether doing so as an employee or friend/family member offering care for a person or pet
  • 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 purposes

Workers in "critical sectors" of the economy will be exempt from the stay at home order so they may get to and from work, based on guidance from the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and US Department of Homeland Security, with modifications made by state officials.

Business and workers that are considered essential and will be allowed to continue to stay open and work include the following categories:

  • Healthcare and public health
  • Law enforcement, public safety, first responders
  • Child care
  • Food and agriculture
  • News media
  • Energy
  • Water and wastewater
  • Critical manufacturing

While not specifically outlined, other critical utilities and services like telecommunications/internet and garbage removal would also be included.

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Governor Walz emphasized that this order to stay at home does not mean you cannot leave your home at all. Rather, the state is asking you to stay home as much as possible to limit exposure and slow the spread of COVID-19 and consider leaving your home only for important reasons like those included above.

The state government's COVID-19 website now has a frequently asked questions area about the stay at home order, which you can see here.

This announcement is similar to Wisconsin's "Safer At Home" Order, which went into effect Wednesday morning.