Right now, it's tough owning or running a business in Minnesota. Between COVID shutdowns and increased government regulations, there are many challenges. Many business owners are finding it hard to keep up with all of the necessary changes.
As a fellow Minnesota-based business, we understand how you feel but also want to help. In this blog, you'll get a rundown of the opening requirements for Minnesota businesses, as well as some helpful resources that can help keep your business up to date.
General Minnesota Business Re-Opening Requirements
There are some COVID-19 related requirements that all Minnesota businesses must follow. See Minnesota's Stay Safe Plan for the most current and up-to-date information on these requirements. For answers to frequently asked questions related to COVID by Minnesota employers and employees, click here. At the time of writing, all of the requirements detailed below are in effect.
As you probably know, there is a facial covering mandate in effect throughout Minnesota. On July 22, Governor Tim Walz signed executive order 20-81, which requires face coverings to be worn in certain settings in the state. Under the order, facial coverings must be worn at all times in indoor businesses and indoor public settings. Additionally, facial coverings must be worn by outside workers when proper social distancing cannot be maintained.
Another requirement for re-opening businesses in Minnesota is the enforcement of social distancing. According to the CDC, social distancing means keeping a safe space between yourself and others. Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, and keeping a safe distance can help prevent the spread of contagious droplets. The CDC recommends people stay at least six feet from one another.
In Minnesota, workers are supposed to telework if possible. Teleworking is also called telecommuting or remote working. It doesn't matter if the business is considered a critical business or non-critical business; if teleworking is possible, it is required. However, if teleworking is not feasible at your business, workers are allowed to come into work.
On the federal level, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance that businesses covered under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus. For COVID-19, symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. If an employee is experiencing symptoms, employers are allowed to make them get tested before entering the workplace.
Note: When an employer requires an employee to undergo a COVID-19 test to work, Minnesota law requires that the employer pay the test or medical examination cost.
Minnesota Business Re-Opening Requirements by Industry
While facial coverings, social distancing, teleworking, and testing are the four big requirements for all Minnesota businesses, additional guidance varies by industry. For a more detailed look at the different requirements and the most up to date information for the various industries, click here. At the time of writing, all of the requirements detailed below are in effect.
Retail businesses in Minnesota are open, but a COVID-19 preparedness plan is required. For more guidance related to retail businesses in Minnesota, click here. Additionally, the Minnesota Retailers Association is another helpful resource.
Restaurants & Bars
Restaurants and bars in Minnesota are open for indoor and outdoor dining at 50% capacity or a maximum of 250 people. The maximum party size is set at six. Additionally, all parties must be seated at least six feet apart. Bar seating is open, but only to parties of two. Reservations are required. All bars and restaurants are required to close from 10 pm to 4 am. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Personal Care Services (Salons, Tattoo Parlors, Barbershops, etc.)
Personal care services are open in Minnesota with a maximum of 50% capacity. Appointments for these service businesses are required. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Gyms & Fitness
Gyms, fitness facilities, yoga studios, and other fitness businesses in Minnesota are open with a maximum capacity of 25%. However, new regulations raise maximum capacity to 250 people depending on facility size. For fitness classes, capacity is a maximum of 25 people, assuming social distancing can be practiced. In facilities, people and machines must maintain nine feet of distance. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Indoor Events & Entertainment
Indoor events and entertainment businesses in Minnesota, like movie theaters, are open to 25% capacity or a maximum of 250 people. No food service is allowed at these businesses after 10 pm. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Outdoor Events & Entertainment
Outdoor events and entertainment businesses in Minnesota are open at 25% capacity or a maximum of 250 people. Masks are not required but are strongly recommended. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Public and private schools in Minnesota must follow the Safe Learning Plan. Schools must meet certain requirements to open for in-person learning. All elementary schools in the states are allowed to re-open in-person learning, but the decision is up to the school.
Whether using in-person learning or a hybrid model, all school staff is required to wear face shields and face masks together at all times. Staff is also prioritized for optional COVID testing every other week. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Tools for Re-Opening your Business
Now that you know Minnesota businesses' requirements, it's time to take steps to help keep your business a safe environment. We can help! During the pandemic, we began creating PPE and safety tools to assist our customers. Whether you need face shields, contactless payment solutions, social distancing signage, or more, we have you covered. Click here to browse our selection of PPE and safety supplies. We want to help keep your business safe! Please reach out to us; we're ready to help.