Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Minnesota, US, lift some business restrictions starting April 27, maintain stay-at-home order through May 4.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • St. Cloud, Minnesota
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Thief River Falls, Minnesota
  • Hibbing, Minnesota
  • Redwood Falls, Minnesota
  • Marshall, Minnesota
  • Mankato, Minnesota
  • Park Rapids, Minnesota

This alert began 27 Apr 2020 19:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Minnesota (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Minnesota Governor Timothy Walz issued an order to lift some business restrictions starting April 27, while keeping the existing stay-at-home order and the closure of numerous other businesses in effect through at least May 4 as part of the state's response to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The orders stipulate that industrial and manufacturing businesses not considered critical, including wholesale trade and warehousing, as well as office-based businesses which are not customer-facing, may reopen starting April 27. To reopen, businesses must ensure that employees who are able to work from home continue to do so, ensure that sick workers stay home, implement social distancing policies, and enhance sanitation in the workplace.

All other nonessential businesses must remain closed to in-person services. Nonessential businesses may operate with employees working from home. Among the essential businesses that have remained open are grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and shelters, as well as media, energy, transport, security, and critical manufacturing companies.

Under Minnesota's current stay-at-home order, residents may leave home only to perform essential tasks, such as obtain basic goods, attend to a medical issue, care for a person in need, or go to work. Residents may also engage in outdoor recreational activities, as long as they comply with social distancing guidelines. In-person school lessons have been canceled for the remainder of the academic year.

Significant transport and business disruptions remain likely. Authorities will likely keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders in short notice, depending on disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

 


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