Minnesota Governor Signs Executive Order to Sunset COVID-19 Restrictions
By Kevin M. Mosher • May 12, 2021
The end is near! On May 6, 2021, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order outlining his plan to safely sunset COVID-19 public health restrictions as more and more Minnesotans become vaccinated. While you’re probably just celebrating the prospect of a fun and normal summer (as you should), you may also be wondering how these changes will affect the workplace.
COVID-19 Prepared Plans
Just because the restrictions are easing doesn’t mean you can throw away your COIVD-19 Preparedness Plans just yet! All businesses are still required to have and implement a written COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. So, if you’re planning to get back into the office after more than a year of remote work, now’s the time put a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan together. You can find a template here. Each Plan must be signed and certified by the representative responsible for implementation, and each Plan should have an assigned administrator who is responsible for ensuring that it is evaluated, monitored, executed, and updated as needed. Employees and workers must be trained on the Plan, too.
Precautions Are Still Required
Things aren’t totally back to normal yet. Businesses must still maintain social distancing policies and require face coverings. However, face coverings will no longer be required once seventy percent of Minnesotans age 16 and older receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or on July 1, 2021, whichever happens first.
Remote Working Is Encouraged
Up until May 6, 2021 all employees who could work from home were required to do so. Now, remote working is not required, but “strongly recommended.” Employers should consider remote working as an accommodation for qualified disabled employees. Additionally, employers are strongly encouraged to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who live with individuals who are unable to be vaccinated due to underlying medical conditions.
New Industry Guidance
For employers operating places of public accommodation like restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and gyms (you know, the industries that have been especially affected by various COVID-19 public health restrictions), be sure to check for new industry-specific guidance. Most capacity restrictions are amended or lifted altogether within the coming weeks.
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