What's open, what's closed: Updated guide to Minnesota's stay-at-home order

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz' office released an updated Frequently Asked Questions form Monday in an effort to further clarify the state's stay-at-home order.

Though many residents have by now adapted to working from home and ordering takeout, there are still areas of confusion.

Here's a breakdown of your most commonly asked questions.


Should businesses screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms?
It is recommended that you screen all employees prior to allowing them to enter your business. The following questions can be used to screen for COVID-19. If an employee says “YES” to either of these questions, they should not report to work. Once enough time has passed so that an employee can answer “No” to both of these questions, they can return to work.

1. Have you had close contact with someone who was diagnosed or suspected to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days? Close contact means:

  • A person has been within 6 feet of a COVID-19 case or suspected COVID-19 case for a period of time. Close contact can occur while caring for, living with, or visiting with a COVID-19 case OR
  • A person has had direct contact with body fluids of a COVID-19 case or suspected case from being coughed on, while being intimate, or during any such situation involving direct contact.

2. Have you had a fever (100.4 degrees F or higher), shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, or a new or increased cough in the last 7 days?

If an employee says “YES” to either of these questions, they should not report to work. Once enough time has passed so that an employee can answer “No” to both of these questions, they can return to work.

What should businesses do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?
Employees with a confirmed COVID-19 test or employees with symptoms including fever, cough, or shortness of breath must STAY HOME and NOT REPORT TO WORK until:

  • Symptoms including fever, cough, or shortness of breath have improved AND
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND 
  • Fever (100.4°F or higher) has been gone for at least 3 days without the use of feverreducing medicine.

Once all of these conditions are satisfied, the employee may return to work. The employee’s healthy household members and intimate contacts need to incorporate
precautions in the home and monitor for symptoms. They also should limit activities in public for 14 days after their last contact with the ill person.


On-site consumption is prohibited -- These establishments must stop all food and beverage service for on-site consumption:

  • Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other businesses or charitable establishments.
  • Bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, and other businesses or charitable establishments.

These establishments may offer food and beverages using delivery services, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service, so long as social distancing precautions are taken.

What restrictions are there for outdoor dining/patio seating at restaurants, ice cream shops, or other establishments with outdoor seating?
On-site consumption of food and beverages is not allowed. This includes both indoor and outdoor areas. Walk-up shops and establishments with outdoor seating need to discourage onsite consumption. This may mean removing seating options, where feasible.

Can feeding sites stay open and serve food to their clients?
Yes. The applicable executive order does not apply to shelters, soup kitchens, or similar institutions.

Where can I find information about what food that schools can provide and requirements about how to provide that food?
The Minnesota Department of Education has posted Food and Nutrition COVID-19 Resources here.

Can mobile food units operate?
Yes. Mobile food units and seasonal temporary food stands (“food trucks”) can operate.

  • Staff should follow social distancing recommendations to keep at least 6 feet apart, so trucks may have to operate with a limited number of staff.
  • Discontinue offering self-serve condiments.
  • Encourage online and electronic payment transactions.

Are any customers allowed inside of restaurants and coffee shops if they are picking up an order to-go, instead of remaining outside?
Yes. Up to 5 customers or guests may be in the establishment at one time, as long as those individuals are at least 6 feet apart from one another while on the premises. Drive-through and curb-side delivery service are good options.


Lodging establishments -- Room rental is allowed
Lodging establishments are allowed to continue offering lodging rooms to guests, and may provide food to be consumed away from common areas. Hotel management and staff should discourage gatherings in common areas of hotels, such as lobbies, lounges, breakfast areas, or meeting rooms. Food service in lodging establishments may operate with restrictions.


Public swimming pools and spas must be closed -- Swimming pools and spas at fitness centers, recreation centers, and municipal pools must be closed. Swimming pools and spas at apartment buildings, condominiums, and homeowners associations must be closed.

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