Partial Return to Work for Some Non-Critical Sectors Announced

FromTheDomeGovernor Tim Walz on April 23 announced his strategy for how his administration will approach planning for the development of a comprehensive framework that will reopen Minnesota’s economy in phases.

The first step in that process is the issuance of Executive Order 20-40 which begins the process of safely returning Minnesotans to work, starting with workers in non-customer facing industrial and office-based businesses who cannot work from home. Guidance on what businesses are allowed to return to work under EO 20-40 can be found here. In addition, the state has created a comprehensive and detailed website for businesses to reference on safely returning to work, including FAQs.

In general, the order:

  • Allows workers in industrial and office settings to return to work, subject to several conditions, effective April 27, 2020.
  • All workers who can work from home must continue to do so.
  • Employers reopening must create a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and conduct health screenings of employees each day at arrival. The MN Department of Labor and Industry has created a template business can utilize here. The MN Chamber of Commerce has also produced a helpful guide here. Businesses are not required to use these specific templates, but they must be based on OSHA/CDC guidelines. Businesses also do NOT need to submit this plan to the state for approval. In addition, these requirements only apply to businesses that will be newly opening – not to businesses that are already open.
  • Executive Order 20-40 makes no changes to the definitions of Critical Workers/Sectors from Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-33. Critical Workers/Sectors can be open, as they were before this order.
  • Unless they qualify as a Critical Sector in Executive Order 20-33, businesses that sell goods and services directly to customers remain closed for the time being. These businesses are still allowed to fulfill orders to support electronic commerce.

The MN Department of Employment & Economic Development is hosting two webinars on Executive Order 20-40 that will discuss the process of returning employees back to work. Sign up here. They are today from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. and tomorrow (April 24) from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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