ST. PAUL, MN-- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced Wednesday that he is lifting the state's "Stay at Home" order as it currently stands and allowing non-essential businesses to reopen to 50-percent capacity if they have a safety plan in place.
"Starting on May 18, we're turning the workplace dial," said the Governor.
Gov. Walz said, "Stay Safe Minnesota will still ask people: stay close to home, limit travel to what's essential, but we can now gather with friends and family of groups of less than ten."
Those groups of less than ten can include social, civil, community, and faith-based gatherings.
While malls, remote campgrounds such as in the BWCA, and driving schools can reopen next week, businesses like restaurants, bars, hair salons, and gyms must remain closed until at least June 1.
"We're not flipping a switch and everything's going back to normal at once. We're slowly moving the dial and introducing more interaction between people over time," said the Governor.
Walz said depending on how much people think about why these protocols make a difference and how they help slow the spread of the virus… will determine if the new order is successful.
"This is either going to work or not work and people are either going to stay out of the hospital or get in it."
The move announced Wednesday coincided with a significant increase in testing, tracing, and isolating the virus in the state.
The Governor said some recreational businesses may be allowed to open before June 1. He said they have to be able to have time to train staff on new health and safety procedures and make sure they have the staff and inventory to reopen.
DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said you can find more on what businesses can reopen at MN.gov/DEED/safework.
The Governor also extended his peacetime emergency authority until June 12. Extending the peacetime emergency in Minnesota allows the Governor to keep his toolbox open so he can take critical, swift action to protect Minnesotans.
Walz Signs Two Executive Orders
Governor Walz also signed two executive orders, protecting workers as businesses start to reopen.
The first order strongly encourages Minnesotans with underlying health conditions, most at risk from the virus, to continue staying home.
People whose jobs start back up but don't feel safe going to work will not lose access to unemployment benefits.
The second-order makes sure workers can raise concerns about the safety of their work environment, without worrying about descrimination or retaliation.
Businesses are required to have a safety plan and share it with their employees before opening.