Minnesota’s businesses are ordered to close (6:45 PM 3/16/20)

Governor Walz adds new restrictions in Minnesota's fight against the virus.


Emma Conway

New executive orders have been put in place by Governor Walz.

At 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 16 Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced further action to curb the spread of COVID-19. First, he applauded schools for stepping up during this difficult time by entering uncharted territory with new Child Care and Food Services efforts. He then shared that since yesterday, there have been 15 new cases of the virus, topping out Minnesota’s numbers at 54 cases, three of which are linked to community transmission. Walz stressed, “We need to stop congregating.” 

We need to stop congregating.”

— Tim Walz

Under the CDC’s new guideline groups greater than 50 shouldn’t gather, and President Trump suggests no more than 10 people in one place at any given time. For that very reason, Walz is implementing executive order 20-03 which will feature partial closures of restaurants, bars, and multiple amusement locations (such as movie theaters, museums, golf course, hair salons, and bowling alleys) starting tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17 at 5 p.m. through Friday, March 27. Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. A second executive order, 20-04, is changing payment and unemployment trust funds for hospitality industry workers.  

Right after Walz opened, Jan Malcom, the Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner, backed up the Governor and executive order 20-03. “We recommended that restaurants and bars halted in house services at this time,” Malcom maintained. Delivery and drive thru services, however, are still permitted, but six feet is still the magic number for workers within those establishments. Online ordering and pick up is highly encouraged over in person interactions. 

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner, Steve Grove, not only honed in on executive order 20-04, but also began by thanking the business industry for all they do. State employees at the Department of Workforce Development Unemployment have been working tirelessly to handle these extraordinary times. Because of the business closures, unemployment insurance rules are becoming more lax. Those who wish to apply are recommended to go to uimn.org. Minnesota businesses will also have the Federal Government’s Disaster Loan program at their disposal. 

Other bigwigs within the hospitality industry, including American Chef, Andrew Zimmerman, and Co-founder of Caribou Coffee and Punch Pizza addressed Minnesotans as well.  To Zimmerman, “The food world is the cultural fabric holding Minnesotans together.” Yet, Zimmerman and Puckett understand why this decision has been made. 

The food world is the cultural fabric holding Minnesotans together.”

— Andrew Zimmerman

Closing, Governor Walz took the mic, again reiterating the importance of the hospitality industry, emphasizing how this decision was far from easy. Additional executive orders regarding transit should be expected in the foreseeable future. But, for now, Walz sees these two executive orders in tandem adequately protecting Minnesotans.