Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-74 continues the process of reopening Minnesota in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Signed June 5, the Order took effect on June 10 and provides guidance on the process for reopening businesses.
One essential component of Executive Order 20-74 is its requirement that, in order to reopen or remain open, each business must have a written COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place. COVID-19 Preparedness Plans must be compliant with Executive Order 20-74. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (MN DLI) has made a template COVID-19 Preparedness Plan available on its website. Employers are required to post, distribute, and provide training on their plan to all employees.
In addition, all COVID-19 Preparedness Plans must be in accord with the industry-specific guidance on the MN DLI website. MN DLI recently released industry-specific guidance for: restaurants and bars; personal care services and salons; places of worship; retail businesses; outdoor recreation entities; schools and child care; health care facilities; food and agricultural businesses; construction; manufacturing; organized sports; gyms, studios, and fitness center; drive-in and vehicle gatherings; grocery and convenience stores; transportation, distribution, and delivery services; and custodial and janitorial services; and entertainment companies.
Significantly, critical sector businesses considered essential are not exempt from the obligation to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Even if a critical sector business has been operating safely and successfully throughout the pandemic, it nonetheless is expected to have a compliant COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place on or before June 29, 2020. Critical sector businesses that already have COVID-19 Preparedness Plans in place must review the MN DLI industry-specific guidance and make any appropriate modifications to bring existing plans into compliance.
Businesses that fail to comply with Executive Order 20-74 face civil penalties of up to $25,000 per occurrence. In addition, businesses should be cognizant of operating requirements at the federal and local levels, including OSHA, which issued its Guidance on Returning to Work for non-essential businesses on June 18, 2020, and the extensive CDC Guidance for businesses.