Gov. Walz signed ‘stay at home' order 4 years ago Monday: COVID-19

At a time when the nation was seeing rising cases of COVID-19 that ultimately led to the deaths of thousands of people, four years ago Monday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order telling people to stay home.

All people within the State of Minnesota were, "ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in the Activities and Critical Sector," according to Executive Order 2020, which began on Friday, March 27, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. through Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. It would later be extended, and the definition of what was and was not a "critical employee" would become heavily debated.

As of March 24, 2020, Minnesota had 287 confirmed COVID-19 cases – including the state’s first confirmed death – plus 35 hospitalizations, according to the executive order.

At the time, it wasn’t the first executive order that Gov. Walz issued for the pandemic. On March 13, Walz issued Executive Order 2001, declaring a "peacetime emergency" due to the pandemic threatening the lives of Minnesotans. 

On March 15, Executive Order 2002 ordered the temporary closure of public schools.

The following day, Executive Order 2004 ordered the closure of bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation. President Donald Trump issued guidelines to limit gatherings of more than 10 people that same day, March 16. 

As the pandemic waned and spiked, so did policies to shift the needs of both public safety and economic stability.

Following the wave of shutdowns, both businesses and cities continue to grapple with a new normal of a lack of foot traffic and remote work.

Concerns about government spending and potentially fraudulent programs have also been reported.

Signed four years ago Monday, the lives of Minnesotans and politicians tasked with crafting policy resulting from its impact are undoubtedly forever changed.