Minnesota Businesses Must Draft and Implement a “COVID-19 Preparedness Plan”

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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.

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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