Minnesota stay-at-home order extended through May 4

Expect downtown Minneapolis to stay pretty empty for April, too.

Expect downtown Minneapolis to stay pretty empty for April, too. Associated Press

Gov. Tim Walz will extend the executive order calling on Minnesotans to stay in their homes unless necessary through May 4, according to the Star Tribune, which broke the news ahead of Walz's  press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The Strib's reporting didn't say whether Walz's extension might modify the original order, which granted a limited number of exceptions (see below) for when Minnesotans are allowed to leave their homes, and specified which professions should continue to report to work in person.

The order initially went into effect March 25, and was scheduled to last through April 10. So far, the measure has proven effective at curbing the spread of coronavirus, aka COVID-19. Relative to other states, Minnesota has shown some of the slowest growth rates in the country.

A widely cited model created by researchers at the University of Washington has cut Minnesota's estimated death toll in half, from 2,000 to fewer than 1,000

Through the end-of-day Tuesday, the state's seen 1,154 cases of coronavirus out of 30,753 tests administered, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. So far, 39 people have died, none younger than 58, with a median age of death of 86. Of positive cases, 632 people are no longer required to be isolated.

Under Walz's March 25 order, the following were deemed acceptable reasons to leave home, according to a webpage maintained by the health department:

Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies
Outdoor activities, such as walking pets, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing
Necessary Supplies and Services, such as getting groceries, gasoline, or carry-out
Essential and interstate travel, such as returning to home from outside this state
Care of others, such as caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household
Displacement, such as moving between emergency or homeless shelters if you are without a home
Relocation to ensure safety, such as relocating to a different location if your home has been unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation, or essential operations reasons
Tribal Activities & Lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservations
Funerals, provided that the gathering consists of no more than 10 attendees and the space utilized allows for social distancing (six feet spacing between people). Venues should make accommodations for remote attendance, if possible, for others. Individuals who are at high risk from COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to attend remotely.

The order was enforceable as law, with those caught in violation facing a misdemeanor charge and a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail or $1,000 fine. So far, incidents of enforcement have been rare, and somewhat suspect.

We'll update this post as more information becomes available.