ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz took steps to further curtail social activity and limit the spread of the coronavirus on Wednesday, March 25, by ordering Minnesotans to stay inside their homes and not leave unless necessary.

Walz made details of his stay-at-home executive order public on Wednesday afternoon as cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, continue to be confirmed amid the global pandemic. Earlier in the day, the state Department of Health reported an updated case count of 287.

The order forbids Minnesotans, many of whom are already confined to their homes because of the pandemic, from venturing outside with several exceptions. A separate executive order signed Wednesday extends the closure of bars, restaurants and other types of small businesses until May 1, though food service providers will still be allowed to maintain their takeout and delivery options.

Walz also reauthorized the order for schools to go online-only so that it will remain in effect until May 4.

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How long will it last?

Walz's stay-at-home order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 27, and expire at 5 p.m. April 10. The order can be extended.

Who can still go to work?

Any Minnesotan who can work from home is encouraged to do so, according to the order's text. Exempt from the stay-at-home mandate, however, are those working in what state and federal regulators have identified as "critical sectors" for which remote work may not be feasible.

Those include:

  • Health care and public health, as well as home care and child care
  • Law enforcement, public safety and first-response agencies, as well as corrections, probation and animal control agencies
  • Emergency shelters, including those for the homeless and victims of domestic violence, as well as halfway houses
  • Food and agriculture
  • News media and communications
  • Energy
  • Water and wastewater
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Transportation and logistics, including public transit, auto dealers, warehouses and truckers
  • Financial services, including banks, credit unions and insurance companies
  • Hotels, motels and building maintenance
  • Legal services
  • Laundry services
  • Animal shelters and veterinarians

Questions about critical sectors can be emailed to

What will be open and what will be closed?

Minnesotans will still be able to go to the following after the order takes effect:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • The state Legislature
  • Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, bakeries and take-out restaurants
  • Liquor stores
  • Child care facilities
  • News organization offices
  • Gas stations
  • Funeral homes
  • Banks
  • Hardware stores
  • Post offices

The following will be closed:

  • Dine-in restaurants, bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues, including movie theaters and bowling alleys
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Zoos and museums
  • Concert halls
  • Country clubs
  • Salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors

When can I go outside?

During the two weeks that the order is in effect, Minnesotans can still leave their homes to do the following:

  • To go to the grocery store, pharmacy and gas station
  • To walk, bike, hike, fish, hunt and run
  • To care for a friend, family member, loved one or pet sheltered in another household
  • To seek help with or shelter from a household emergency or domestic violence situation
  • To move between emergency shelters if stable housing is unavailable
  • To travel into and out of Minnesota, including out-of-state work

Is there a penalty for not following the order?

Yes. Anybody who violates the order could face a fine of $1,000 and up to 90 days imprisonment.

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This version has been updated to correct the time the order goes into effect.