Minnesota’s Stay Safe Order: Phase III and Reopening Businesses


By Maurita Begay

As of June 10, 2020, the third phase of Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan will commence, ordered by Governor Walz. Throughout the entire Stay Safe Plan of Minnesota, customers will be strongly recommended to wear facial coverings and employees will be required to do so.

Everyone is also required to practice social distancing by staying six feet away from others when in public. Non-Critical Sector businesses, also known as non-essential businesses, are required to adopt, implement, and post a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for workers to readily view prior to reopening.

The Preparedness Plan must be evaluated, monitored, executed, and updated by a designated Plan Administrator. If employees can telework from home, employers are encouraged to accommodate that or continue to do so.

Critical Sector businesses, also known as essential businesses, should currently be adhering to the Stay Safe Plan and are required to develop and implement their own COVID-19 Preparedness Plan by June 29.

Non-Critical Sector businesses that are allowed to operate at up to 50% capacity are restaurants with indoor-dining and personal care services, such as salons, tattoo parlors, and barbershops. Each one of these businesses must practice social distancing and require reservations.

Restaurants and bars must limit four people to a table, but up to six people can be seated together if they are part of one family unit. Each table must be a minimum of six feet apart and must not exceed 250 occupant capacity. Workers are required to wear masks at all times and must encourage customers to wear masks when they are not eating or drinking.

Personal care services are required to limit the number of clients inside the business so that workers and clients can practice social distancing, except when providing services. Occupancy must not exceed 250 persons and services cannot be provided on a walk-in basis. Workers and clients are required to wear masks at all times, and when a client cannot wear a mask, the worker must add a face shield to their mask.

Places of worship may also increase their occupancy up to 50%. Places of worship, which may include faith-based communities, funeral homes, and other venues that offer spaces for weddings, funerals, and other rituals, must have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan developed prior to hosting groups over ten people.

The Preparedness Plan must be evaluated, monitored, executed, and updated by a Plan Administrator designated within the organization, and it must be implemented and posted for leadership, staff, and volunteers to readily view. Indoor occupancy must stay below 50%, not exceeding 250 occupants in a single self-contained space, and outdoor occupancy cannot exceed 250 people. As another protective measure, food should not be communally shared and everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a mask at all times.

Non-Critical Sector businesses that are allowed to operate only up to 25% capacity include gyms, and other personal fitness studios, and recreational indoor entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, arcades, museums, theaters, and concert halls. Outdoor entertainment venues that are also allowed up to 25% capacity are places like sporting events, theaters, and concerts. Gyms, studios, and other fitness centers may not exceed 250 occupant capacity, as well. Exercise equipment and other activities must be conducted at least six feet apart. Treadmills, and other equipment and activities of higher exertion, must have a greater distance between them.

Group exercise classes can only be offered if social distancing is practiced and there is no physical contact involved. Workers and customers are strongly encouraged to wear masks, and the business is required to establish a regular disinfection routine that staff are to be trained on. Apart from business conduct, indoor social gatherings can have up to 10 people present, and outdoor gatherings can have up to 25 people. Again, facial coverings are strongly encouraged to be worn at all times, and if business staff is present, they are required to wear a mask.

A critical measure for protecting employees and customers from COVID-19 exposure includes requiring masks to be worn by staff at all times and establishing health screening protocols for staff before each shift. Employers must also ensure that employees are washing their hands and disinfecting high-touch surfaces regularly. If any staff member exhibits symptoms, they must be sent home immediately, or they must be isolated in a closed room until they can be sent home.

There must be a protocol for reporting sickness, and if any staff has had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, they are not warranted to work until they have conducted a quarantine period. Sick leave policies must be evaluated and adjusted to meet the needs of staff who need to stay home, and staff should be incentivized to follow protocol.

An individual must be designated in the workplace to maintain communication with staff and to gather information from those who may be ill, while ensuring privacy. A process for identifying exposure of infection between staff must be established. There must also be a protocol for staff to return to work.

As for finding employment, labor and industry offices are not allowing walk-in customers and visitors until further notice. In reiteration of the most critical points of the Stay Safe Plan: Phase III of Reopening Minnesota Businesses, staff are required to wear masks at all times, wash hands regularly, and disinfect high-touch surfaces. Customers are strongly encouraged to wear masks and wash their hands regularly.

All customers and staff must practice social distancing. Lastly, all places of business and social gathering must have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place before reopening.

For more information on Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan, visit: https://mn.gov/covid19/for- minnesotans/stay-safe-mn/stay-safe-plan.jsp

A guide for protocols of each type of Non-Critical Sector business is also available at:

For further information on how to protect yourself and other from COVID-19, visit: