100,000 Minnesotans return to work Monday as some non-critical businesses reopen

Governor Tim Walz gives an update on COVID-19 in Minnesota on April 23, 2020.

Starting Monday, some non-critical businesses in Minnesota will be able to return to work if it is safe to do so, according to a new order from Governor Tim Walz.

The order impacts industrial and manufacturing businesses, such as wholesale trade, warehousing and places where goods are created. Office-based businesses are also included.

“This is a limited first step in the process of safely reopening some businesses and returning Minnesotans to work,” said Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove in a statement. “We will continue to listen to and seek input from business and community leaders and work with public health experts on creative solutions to put more people back to work as safely and quickly as possible.”

Walz estimates it will return 80,000 to 100,000 people back to their jobs. All workers who can work from home, however, should continue to work from home, according to the order.

The order notes that this does not include "customer-facing retail environments" associated with the industrial, manufactuing or office sectors. For more guidance on which businesses are included, click here.

BUSINESSES MUST HAVE COVID-19 PLAN

Before workers can return to work, businesses must have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place. The plan must include guidance for employees to social distance, work from home whenver possible and stay home if they are sick. It must also detail employee hygiene policy and cleaning and disinfection protocols. Employees must be notified and trained on the plan's procedures.

PUNISHMENT FOR VIOLATIONS

Under the order, any business owner, manager or supervisor that encourages their employees to violate this order faces a gross misdemeanor charge with up to a $3,000 fine and a year behind bars. Workers that violate the order face a misdemeanor charge, up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days imprisonment.