COVID-19 State Re-Openings

If you operate a business in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and/or Wisconsin businesses, the following information will assist in formulating your reopening plan. Employers are encouraged to keep up to date and comply with relevant federal, state, and local guidance.


·  From the office of Gov. Walz:

Minnesota – Stay at Home Order extended through May 17, 11:59pm. (Expires on May 18, 2020)

Starting May 4, retail businesses and other non-critical businesses may begin offering curbside pick-up. This will put up to 30,000 Minnesotans back to work in a safe, coordinated way. Businesses must:

·       Develop and publicly post a plan for how to open safely.

·       Use online payment whenever possible.

·       Employees and customers should wear masks and protective equipment.

·       In curbside pick-up scenarios, social distancing guidelines apply. If possible, customers should not leave their vehicle.

·       In delivery scenarios, items should be deposited outside a customer’s residence.

Minnesotans should also continue to telework whenever possible, wear face masks in public, screen for symptoms and regularly check their temperature, and maintain physical distance from each other.

North Dakota

·       Businesses that were previously ordered closed may reopen May 1, 2020. All businesses may now resume operations.

·       Executive Order 2020-06.4 adopts the “Smart Restart” standards for all businesses and industries that are reopening or which have remained open.

o   Smart Restart Protocols:

·       Local governments may have additional closing orders still in place.

South Dakota

·   SD Executive Order 2020-13 has been extended by Executive Order 2020-18 to run through May 11.

·   Vulnerable Individuals (adults over the age of 65 and anyone with a serious underlying health condition) who do not work critical infrastructure sector jobs are advised to stay home.

·   Governor Noem’s Orders include the following:

o   All employers, both for profit and not-for-profit, within the State of South Dakota should:

§  Implement the recommended CDC hygiene practices and other business strategies designed to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease.

§  Understand that the COVID-19 is not a short-term challenge, and operations will need to endure a difficult and limited social environment for potentially eight weeks or more.

§  Innovate and continue to demonstrate entrepreneurial excellence in their operations during this difficult and uncertain environment.

§  Encourage staff to telework if possible, implement social distancing measures, limit unnecessary work gatherings, limit non-essential travel, and consider regular health checks including CDC guidance for COVID-19 screening if possible.

§  Offer, to the extent possible, special shopping times or access periods for populations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

o   Any “enclosed retail business that promotes public gatherings” within the State of South Dakota should:

§  Suspend or modify business practices as recommended by CDC guidance that involve ten or more people to be in an enclosed space where physical separation of at least six feet is not possible.

§  Continue offering or consider offering business models that do not involve public gatherings, including takeout, delivery, drive-through, curb-side service, off-site services, social distancing models, or other innovative business practices that do not involve public gatherings in an enclosed space.

§  Consider business arrangements and innovative ideas intended to support the critical infrastructure sectors, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security.

§  For the purpose of [the above], an “enclosed retail business that promotes public gatherings” means any enclosed facility operating as a bar, restaurant, brewery, cafe, casino, coffee shop, recreational or athletic facility, health club, or entertainment venue.



·   Safer at Home Order in effect through 8am, Tuesday May 26th.

·       Recent changes allow some businesses to reopen, as follows:

o   Businesses and activities that may increase services and operations: 

1.     Public libraries: Libraries may provide curb-side pick-up of books and other library materials.

2.     Golf courses: Golf courses may open, with restrictions including scheduling and paying for tee times online or by phone only. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed. 

3.     Non-essential businesses: Non-essential businesses can do more things as Minimum Basic Operations, including deliveries, mailings, curb-side pick-up, curbside drop-off, and outdoor recreational rentals. Automatic and self-serve car washes may operate.  Non-essential businesses must notify workers of whether they are necessary for the Minimum Basic Operations. 

4.     Arts and craft stores: Arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick-up of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE).

5.     Aesthetic or optional exterior work: Aesthetic or optional exterior lawn care or construction is allowed, so long as it can be done by one person.

·       Guidance for re-opening retail stores:

o   All retail stores that remain open as essential businesses and operations must install markings for where customers line up to enable the customers to stay six feet apart and use alternatives to lines, such as drive-up loading and scheduled curb-side pick-ups.

o   Stores with less than 50,000 square feet of customer floor space must limit the number of people in the store, including employees, to 25% of their total occupancy limits. 

o   Stores with more than 50,000 square feet of customer floor space must limit the number of customers (excluding employees) to 4 people per 1,000 square feet. These stores must also offer at least two hours per week of shopping time for vulnerable populations.

·       From the office of Gov. Evers.

Please note this current global emergency and applicable laws, regulations, proposals, guidance, advice, and responses change rapidly. We strive to keep you up to date as much as possible, but this post is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Contact myHRcounsel with questions concerning specific facts and circumstances.