Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in North Dakota, US, to lift most COVID-19-related business restrictions starting May 1.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Williston, North Dakota
  • Minot, North Dakota
  • Dickinson, North Dakota
  • Devils Lake, North Dakota

This alert began 29 Apr 2020 23:06 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): North Dakota (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business, transport disruptions

Summary
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum plans to lift most business restrictions in the state starting May 1 as part of his administration's response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Earlier orders requiring the closure of nonessential businesses will expire April 30. After the directive lapses, all businesses will be allowed to reopen, provided they comply with a series of requirements aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. These generally include steps such as ensuring adherence to social distancing guidelines within establishments; enhancing sanitation; screening workers for possible symptoms and sending home any employee who is ill; limiting the number of persons allowed inside business establishments at any given time; staggering shifts if possible; and encouraging the use of protective face coverings, among other measures. Specific requirements may vary by industry and operating circumstances. The state government encourages telecommuting and other work-from-home arrangements wherever possible.

Officials continue to require all travelers, including residents, arriving in the state from abroad or from any other state in the US to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering North Dakota. The order does not apply to workers in essential fields, such as healthcare and emergency services.

Transport and business disruptions are likely. Officials could amend the orders on 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 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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