Minnesota Announces its Four-Phase Stay Safe Plan

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As we previously summarized, last week Governor Walz announced that Minnesota’s stay-at-home order would expire without further extension at 11:59 p.m. on May 17, 2020, and would be replaced by Phase I of “Stay Safe Minnesota,” Minnesota’s phased reopening plan. Phase I was outlined in Executive Order 20-56, which permitted all retail stores, shopping malls, and other businesses that sell, maintain, and repair goods to open on May 18, 2020, and provided that guidelines for a June 1, 2020 reopening of bars, restaurants, salons and barbershops would be announced no later than May 20, 2020.

Accordingly, yesterday Governor Walz announced the following guidelines for Phase II of the reopening plan:

Phase II:

Restaurants and Bars:

  • Permitted to open for outside in-person dining and may serve a maximum of 50 people.
  • Reservations will be required and tables must be arranged to allow for social distancing. 
  • Party size must also be kept to a maximum of 4 people, unless members of single household in which case 6 people is the maximum.
  • Employees will be required to wear a mask and all customers will be strongly encouraged to do the same (as much as is practically possible while eating and drinking).
  • The Governor acknowledged that many restaurants and bars do not currently have outdoor dining capabilities and encouraged these businesses and their municipalities to get innovative in creating space for outdoor dining.
  • All restaurants and bars may continue to offer take-out and delivery services.

Personal Care Services including Barbershops, Hair Salons, and Tattoo Parlors:

  • Permitted to open to clients at 25% of their operating capacity (as determined by the fire marshal). 
  • Clients must make appointments and walk-ins will not be allowed under any circumstances. 
  • Both employees and clients will be required to wear masks.
  • Proprietors are encouraged to take the temperatures of employees and clients.

Campgrounds and Charter Boats:

  • Permitted to open and operate so long as they can be configured to allow for social distancing. 
  • Campgrounds must make changes to individual campground space and common areas that follow social-distancing-guidelines. 
  • Charter boats may resume service so long as social distancing can be achieved between crew and passengers, and between passengers (unless they are all from the same household).

In an effort to reiterate what has not changed in Phase II, the Governor noted that social gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited, telework is still required if possible, and retail stores may only operate at 50% capacity.

In order to give Minnesotan’s a sense of further changes on the horizon, the Governor provided a glimpse into what Phase III and Phase IV of the Stay Safe Minnesota plan will look like:

Phase III:

  • Permit social gatherings up to 20 people.
  • Allow restaurants and bars to open for indoor seating with capacity and social distancing requirements, and masks will be required for employees and customers.
  • Permit personal care services to increase capacity from 25% to 50%.
  • Potentially allow gyms, personal fitness centers, and yoga studios to reopen at 50% capacity, so long as capacity and social-distancing-requirements and other safety precautions can be followed.
  • Potentially allow outdoor entertainment venues to open to groups of 50 people or less, so long as capacity and social-distancing-requirements and other safety precautions can be followed.
  • Permit places of worship, religious services, wedding, and funerals to host indoor events for groups of 20 people or less, or outdoor events for groups of 100 or less, with social-distancing-requirements and masks will be required for workers and attendees.
  • Permit public pools to open at 50% capacity.

Phase IV:

  • Permit entertainment businesses, including bowling alleys, arcades, movie theaters, and other theaters to open at 25% capacity, not to exceed 50 people, so long as capacity and social-distancing-guidelines and other safety precautions can be followed.
  • If not opened in Phase III, potentially allow gyms, personal fitness centers, and yoga studios to reopen at 50% capacity, so long as capacity and social-distancing-requirements and other safety precautions can be followed.
  • If not opened in Phase III, potentially allow outdoor entertainment venues to open to groups of 50 people or less, so long as capacity and social-distancing-requirements and other safety precautions can be followed.

Large public gatherings will be prohibited through Phase IV of the Stay Safe Minnesota reopening plan.  More detailed information on each phase of the plan can be found here.

Governor Walz’s phased reopening guidelines are a continuation of his previous cautious approach.  Regardless of the reopening plan, Governor Walz has made it clear that he is prepared to make changes and re-implement restrictions if Minnesota hospitals begin to reach capacity.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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