Walz enacts two week stay at home order

MINNESOTA – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has released his 20th executive order of the year, and this one asks people to stay home unless they are a critical worker.

Beginning on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm through Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all persons currently living within the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in non-essential activities. The order also states March 30 through May 4 will be a Distance Learning period for students, and the bars and restaurants will now be closed until May 1.

Walz announced the latest steps in the COVID-19 mitigation on Wednesday afternoon during a widely viewed and heard briefing. The governor said that these two weeks are critical when it comes to readying the state for what will become an influx of sickness. It does so by giving the state time to prepare for the medical needs of the people.

Across Minnesota, hospitals are racing now to prepare for an expected spike in patient care as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads. Walz said we know that the majority of people who are infected with the coronavirus do not need any kind of medical intervention. We also know that 15 percent of the population will require some type of hospitalization, and 5 percent of those will require ICU care.

Slowing the spread of COVID-19 by sheltering in place for two weeks will buy time to stockpile PPE and ventilator equipment, and even transfer arenas and hotel into hospitals. Walz referenced computer models that show 74,000 Minnesotans could die from the illness without mitigation strategies and the state's 235 intensive care unit beds would be overrun by April.

People will still be able to go to the grocery store, get gasoline, order take-out food, pick up essentials for yourself or neighbors. Walz encouraged people to get outdoors, respecting the social distancing. Take your dog for a walk, go hiking, play outside.

“This doesn’t mean you don’t step out of the house,” Walz said.

It does mean, however, that all who can work from home do so. According to DEED Commissioner Steve Grove, 78 percent of jobs in the state are in critical industries. Those include healthcare and public health; law enforcement, public safety, and first responders; emergency shelters, congregate living facilities, drop-in centers; child care; food and agriculture; news media; energy; water and wastewater; and critical manufacturing.

The governor’s website lists what is considered critical, and Grove said if there are still questions, they can be sent to mn.gov/deed/critical.

If someone breaks the order and leaves the house when they shouldn’t, Walz said he doesn’t want them arrested.

“We want them to be educated,” he stated.

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