Stay Safe MN Information for Cities

Published: May 18, 2020

(Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Minnesota’s stay-at-home order expired in May but other restrictions remain in place for businesses and places of public accommodation. Businesses must have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for employee and customer safety and may have to limit the volume of customers in their establishments at one time. Individuals are still encouraged to stay home when possible and keep a social distance of at least 6 feet from others. Minnesotans are now also required to wear cloth face masks when in indoor public settings.

On June 5, 2020, Gov. Walz announced the next steps of the Stay Safe Plan for June 10, 2020, subject to limitations of occupancy, the creation of a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, and industry-specific guidance. On July 22, Gov. Walz announced a mask mandate for indoor settings for all individuals over the age of 5, which begins Friday, July 24, at midnight.

Get answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Stay Safe MN Executive Order:

Q1. If the Stay at Home order is over, should we still be allowing employees to work from home?

Q2. Are there penalties associated with violating the order? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q3. Can golf courses be open for use? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q4. Can we open our city campground? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q5. What are the restrictions on church services? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q6. The governor’s stay-at-home order required several types of businesses to close. What businesses are now allowed to reopen? (Updated July 23, 2020)

Q7. Can people get together with friends and family now? (Updated July 23, 2020)

Q8. Should city playgrounds be open to the public? (Added May 22, 2020)

Q9. Can our city pools or aquatic facilities be opened? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q10. Do critical sector businesses need to create COVID-19 Preparedness Plans? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q11. Can our community center start renting space again? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q12. Do employees count toward the capacity limits on various industries? (Added June 9, 2020)

Q13. If someone rents out one of our city’s park shelters to host an outdoor gathering with food and beverage, what industry guidance would we apply? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q14. Can kids of different households play sports in city programs and/or on city property? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q15. Can adults of different households play games in our fields? (Updated Aug. 4, 2020)

Q16. We understand that games can resume beginning June 24, but may friends and family come to watch the games? (Added June 24, 2020)

Q17. Are masks required to be worn indoors now? Does the city need to provide masks to employees or residents entering their facilities? (Added July 23, 2020)

Q18. If the city has a stricter mask requirement which mask mandate applies? (Added July 23, 2020)

Q19. Is the city responsible for enforcing the governor’s mask mandate? (Added July 23, 2020)

Q20. What type of face covering meets the requirements? What doesn’t? (Added July 23, 2020)

Q21. Is there an exemption to the face mask requirement for election judges and voters? (Added July 23, 2020)

Q1. If the Stay at Home order is over, should we still be allowing employees to work from home?

A1. Yes, the order says, “Any worker who can work from home must do so.” Whether the position allows an employee to work from home would be up to the employer to determine.

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Q2. Are there penalties associated with violating the orders?

A2. Violation of an executive order is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days. Nothing in the executive order is intended to encourage or allow law enforcement to transgress individual constitutional rights. Violation of specifically Executive Order 20-81 (requiring face coverings) is a petty misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine not to exceed $100.

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Q3. Can golf courses be open for use?

A3. As of June 10, 2020, public and private golf courses may be open but must adhere to certain social distance protocols and more advanced cleaning regimens if allowing the use of facilities like restrooms. Any food and beverage service would need to comply with the Restaurants & Bars industry guidance operating at 50 percent capacity not to exceed 250 people.

—Get more information on the DNR’s Outdoor Recreation Guidelines

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Q4. Can we open our city campground?

A4. As of June 1, campgrounds following state guidance can open for recreational camping.

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Q5. What are the restrictions on church services?

A5. As of June 10, 2020, Executive Order 20-74 opens places of worship, funeral homes, and other venues that offer gathering space for weddings, funerals, or planned services such as worship, rituals, prayer meetings, or scripture studies. These venues may host such weddings, funerals, or services with more than 10 people, provided that they adhere to the below requirements set by the state’s Guidance for Faith-Based Communities, Places of Worship, Weddings, and Funerals:

  • In all settings, ensure a minimum of 6 feet of physical distancing between households. In addition to requiring facial coverings.
  • In indoor settings, occupancy must not exceed 50% of the normal occupant capacity as determined by the fire marshal, with a maximum of 250 people in a single self-contained space.
  • In outdoor settings, gatherings must not exceed 250 individuals.
  • Develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in accordance with guidance developed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
  • Drive-in gatherings are also permitted, provided that all participants remain within their own vehicles and follow guidelines provided by MDH.
  • Gatherings for receptions and other activities before and after ceremonies are restricted to 25% capacity up to 250 people. This is subject to the Guidance for Providing Food and Beverages for On-site Consumption at Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings.

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Q6. The governor’s stay-at-home order required several types of businesses to close. What businesses are now allowed to reopen?

A6. As of June 10, 2020, bars, restaurants, salons and spas, gyms, indoor theaters, pools, and outdoor events were allowed to reopen following industry-specific guidance restricting indoor and outdoor capacities provided by DEED.

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Q7. Can people get together with friends and family now?

A7. As of June 10, 2020, gatherings of 10 people or less are permitted indoors and gatherings of 25 people or less are permitted outdoors. Social distancing is still encouraged and, beginning July 24 at midnight, masks are required mostly in indoor settings.

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Q8. Should city playgrounds be open to the public?

A8. The decision to be open or closed is for the city to make. If the playground equipment is open for use, a best practice is for the city to have a regular schedule for cleaning and sanitizing the play surfaces and/or post signs that warn users of the risk because the playground is not sanitized.

—For examples of playground signs, check out this blog

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Q9. Can our city pools or aquatic facilities be opened?

A9. As of June 10, 2020, indoor and outdoor pools are allowed to open but only operating at 50% capacity and subject to the Swimming Pools & Aquatic Facilities Guidance.

The reopening of the pool must comply with Executive Order 20-63Youth Sports and Recreation guidance, and Swimming Pool & Aquatic Facilities guidance.

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Q10. Do critical-sector businesses need to create COVID-19 Preparedness Plans?

A10. Yes. Critical businesses, including cities, must develop a COVID-19 Preparedness plan (similar to non-critical businesses that were allowed to open earlier). The state published guidance on June 15, 2020, and plans were required to be adopted by June 29. COVID-19 Preparedness Plans must be updated per Executive Order 20-81 to include the face covering requirements. The Industry Guidance applicable to the business may include face covering requirements that are more protective than those of this executive order, consistent with applicable law.

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Q11. Can our community center start renting space again?

A11. As of June 10, Executive Order 20-74 allows you to rent spaces for group gatherings again. This may look very different from pre-COVID, depending on the purpose of the rental. First, the city should have a Preparedness Plan adopted. Educating the renters on the city’s plan, their responsibilities, and the limits of the current executive orders is critical. For example, self-serve food in a buffet is not allowed, and social distancing of tables and people who live in different households is still required. The capacity is restricted to 25% up to 250 people.

Get current guidance from DEED’s Guidance for Recreational Entertainment VenuesProviding Food and Beverages for On-site Consumption at Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings, and Seated Entertainment and Meetings.

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Q12. Do employees count toward the capacity limits on various industries?

A12. No, workplaces do not fall under the gathering limits of various industries.

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Q13. If someone rents out one of our city’s park shelters to host an outdoor gathering with food and beverage, what industry guidance would we apply?

A13. Following Executive Order 20-74, for a gathering at an outdoor venue, the participants and hosts would be subject to the Guidance for Providing Food and Beverages for On-site Consumption at Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings. This requires the event to have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, mandates social distancing between people from different households, and limits capacity to 25% up to 250 persons, in addition to other guidance.

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Q14. Can kids of different households play sports in city programs and/or on city property?

A14. Yes. Since June 1, sports programs have been able to begin. As of July 1, all games may resume. Programs must follow Guidance for Organized Sports, another helpful resource is the state’s FAQ for Youth Sports.

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Q15. Can adults of different households play games in our fields?

A15. Yes. Though it was not recommended, adults have been able to participate in games since June 10. Programs must follow Organized Sports Guidance.

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Q16. We understand that games can resume beginning June 24, but may friends and family come to watch the games?

A16. Yes, beginning June 24, spectators may be present but should follow social distancing recommendations, including wearing masks and maintaining 6 feet of physical distance between people from different households. To determine the number of spectators allowed, venues must follow the specific guidance for the specific settings. Outdoor venues are likely subject to Guidelines for Outdoor Recreational Facilities. Indoor venues likely are subject to Seated Entertainment and Meetings. Your city attorney is best equipped to review your city’s specific venue to make a determination as to which guidance the city must follow. Programs must follow Organized Sports Guidance.

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Q17. Are masks required to be worn indoors now? Does the city need to provide masks to employees or residents entering their facilities?

A17. Beginning Friday July 24, Gov. Walz’s Executive Order 20-81 requires masks to be worn in most indoor settings and some outdoor settings. The city does not need to, but may, supply masks to employees and/or residents.

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Q18. If the city has a stricter mask requirement which mask mandate applies?

A18. If city requirements are more stringent, city requirements will apply.

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Q19. Is the city responsible for enforcing the governor’s mask mandate?

A19. State and local licensing and regulatory entities that regulate businesses for compliance with statutes, rules, and codes to protect the public are encouraged to assess regulated businesses’ compliance with this Executive Order and use existing enforcement tools to bring businesses into compliance. Any individual who willfully violates this Executive Order is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $100. This does not apply to: (1) children younger than 14 years old; or (2) students 14 years old and older who are enrolled in a school or higher education institution identified in Paragraph 12 of this Executive Order, and who are on the premises of the school or institution for educational purposes. See Executive Order 20-81.

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Q20. What type of face covering meets the requirements? What doesn’t?

A20 A “face covering” must be worn to cover the nose and mouth completely, and can include a paper or disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, a scarf, a bandanna, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering. Medical-grade masks and respirators are sufficient face coverings, but to preserve adequate supplies, their purchase and use is discouraged for Minnesotans who do not work in a health care setting or in other occupations that require medical-grade protective equipment (e.g., certain construction occupations). Masks that incorporate a valve designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings because they allow exhaled droplets to be released into the air.

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Q21. Is there an exemption to the face mask requirement for election judges and voters?

A21. Executive Order 20-81 does not contain an exemption for election judges and voters, so masks will be required at all polling locations on Election Day. Further COVID-19 election details are available on the Secretary of State’s website and MDH’s Frequently Asked Questions About the Requirement to Wear Face Coverings.

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—Access more COVID-19 News and Resources