MINNEAPOLIS -- Gov. Tim Walz has ordered Minnesota residents to stay at home for two weeks in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the disease from overwhelming the state's health care system.

Walz issued the order today. It begins at midnight Friday.

We're going to limit movement outside the home beyond essential needs effective Friday, March 27th at 11:59 p.m. to Friday, April 10th.

The Stay At Home order does not mean that you will have to stay home 100 percent of the time.

Of course, if you need to go to the doctor safety things you need to do, outdoor activities be smart about this, don't congregate together, but if you can get out and social distance and walk that's good things.

In addition to the Stay At Home order through April 10th, Governor Walz also extended the executive order that closed bars and restaurants to May 1st and he extended the executive order for distance learning in public schools until May 4th.

Walz says we've already reduced contact by 50 percent in Minnesota over the past eight days and the more stringent guidelines for the next two weeks will reduce contact to 80 percent.

Services deemed essential and can continue to work include healthcare, child care, law enforcement and news media.

Minnesotans may leave their residences only to perform any of the following activities, and while doing so, they should practice social distancing:

  • Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies
  • Outdoor activities, such as walking, 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 a 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 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 and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation

Walz had held off on issuing the order because he wanted to see data and modeling to show whether it would make enough of a difference to justify the disruptions that could last for weeks or months.

He says the steps are necessary to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases and give hospitals more time to prepare for a possible spike in serious cases.

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