Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, some businesses have been defined “Critical Businesses” based on federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). These businesses were able to continue operations – with safety protocols in place – due to the essential nature of their work in areas such as healthcare, public safety, food and agriculture, energy, manufacturing, transportation and more.
In the weeks and months since Governor Walz first declared a peacetime emergency and Stay at Home order in Minnesota, we’ve now seen tens of thousands of businesses begin to safely reopen across our state. Businesses that are reopening are now required to adopt a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to explain the policies, practices and conditions that the business will take to protect the health and safety of their workers and customers.
Critical Businesses have always been required to follow the same MDH and CDC guidelines and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards as non-Critical Sector businesses, but they had not previously been required to adopt and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.
Governor Walz and state leaders have recognized that a more consistent approach across industries and businesses in Minnesota was important – and that workers at Critical Businesses deserve the same clarity about their employers’ plans to protect health and safety as those at non-Critical Sector businesses. To ensure that happens, Executive Order 20-74 requires that by June 29, 2020, all businesses – including Critical Businesses – fully adopt and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.
Our state agency partners at the Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) and the Department of Health (MDH) have created a template COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that any business may use – it is not required, but all businesses must address a variety of components outlined in the template.
In addition, the State of Minnesota has created industry-specific guidancefor several industries that have unique work environments, may pose higher risks for potential virus transmission, or that employ more vulnerable workers, including:
- Grocery and Convenience Stores
- Janitorial and Custodial Services
- Transportation, Distribution and Delivery
For other industries and businesses, the General Guidance for All Businesses should be sufficient for writing and developing a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Minnesota OSHA is also prepared to assist any business with the development of their COVID-19 Preparedness Plans – if you need help, you can contact MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation at 651-284-5060 or OSHA.firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find more information about Critical Sector exemptions and Executive Order 20-48 here.
We’re all in this together, Minnesota. As we return to work and activities we enjoy, we have a shared responsibility to look out for each other and save lives. For extensive additional information about Minnesota’s Stay Safe plan, guidance about staying safe, or to submit other questions, please visit staysafe.mn.gov.