Executive Order 20-40 Non-Critical Business Plan

By Tom Marshall

On April 23, during his 2:00 PM press conference, Gov. Walz discussed Executive Order 20-40 and bringing certain non-critical businesses back on line. The Governor hopes this will bring 100,000 people back to work. The Executive Order may be found here.: https://mn.gov/governor/assets/EO%2020-40%20Final_tcm1055-429564.pdf.

Businesses affected by this Order are:

  1. Industrial and manufacturing businesses including wholesale trade, warehousing, and places of employment in which goods are in the process of being created. It does NOT include customer-facing retail environments associated with an industrial or manufacturing business.
  2. Office-based businesses where workers do their work within an office space, at their desk, and their work is primarily not customer facing. This does not include customer-facing retail environments associated with office-based businesses.

Order 20-40, Para. 5.

The Order states that those persons who can work from home "must do so." (Bolding in original.) Order 20-40, Para. 3. Travel by workers may only be to and from work as well. Order 20-40, Para. 2. All parts of his earlier Order, 20-33, relating to critical businesses remains in effect.

Before a non-critical business may open, it "must establish and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan." This plan "must provide for the business's implementation of Minnesota OSHA Standards and MDH and CDC Guidelines in their workplaces." Order 20-40, Para. 6. The plan must be signed by senior management, posted, and training given to workers on the plan. Id. The plan also must be made available to regulatory authorities and public safety officers "upon request." Id. Critical businesses already operating under the earlier Executive Order do not need to prepare a plan.

To assist employers and employees, MN DEED has set up a web page on Executive Order 20-40 which can be found here: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/safework/ This page includes a draft template for a plan in both Microsoft Word and .pdf versions that an employer can use to create its own plan.

While Gov. Walz urges "all Minnesotans to voluntarily comply," Paragraph 9 of Order 20-40 adds some teeth. Individuals willfully violating the Order can face fines of $1,000 and 90 days in jail. Business owners violating the Order could be guilty of a gross misdemeanor and subject to a fine of $3,000 and imprisonment not more than a year. In addition, the business could face civil penalties of $25,000.