Under recently issued Emergency Executive Order 20-20 (the "Order"), beginning Friday, March 27, 2020, at 11:59 pm, all persons living in the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay in their homes for two weeks (through April 10th at 5:00 pm) in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Workers in "Critical Sectors" as defined in the Order who can work from home must do so, but are exempt from the Order's restrictions to the extent they cannot. This includes, but is not limited to, workers who fit into any of the U.S. Department of Homeland Securities' Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce ("CISA Guidance") categories. For example, the following businesses (and their workers) are considered essential:
- Healthcare and public health, including workers supporting manufacturers and technicians, logistics, and warehouse operators.
- Food and agricultural, such as grocery workers, restaurant carry-out and delivery employees, and farm workers.
- Transportation and logistics, including truck drivers, dispatchers, warehouse workers, and roadway construction, maintenance, and utility project workers.
- Critical manufacturing, meaning workers manufacturing materials and products for medical supply chains and supply chains associated with transportation, energy, communications, food, and agriculture.
- Construction and critical trade, including skilled trade workers (i.e. electricians, plumbers, HVAC, and elevator technicians).
Verify Business Eligibility
Businesses can also determine eligibility by reviewing the MN Critical Businesses List. If an industry description is marked as YES in the "Critical Industry" column, then a worker in that industry is essential and is exempt from the Order to the extent the worker is going into the business's physical location for job functions that cannot be done from home.
Employee Verification Letters
Although not required under the Order, it is best practice for employers to provide a letter to their employees to keep on hand that verifies that the employee works for the employer, and the employee's work for the employer is in furtherance of the employer's business operations that fall within one of the Order's identified sectors. This is a particularly good idea as the Order provides criminal penalties for willful violators. Providing employees with an employee verification letter can help put the employee's mind at ease if they are stopped by law enforcement on the way to work.
We Can Help
Please contact attorneys in Maslon's Corporate & Securities and/or Labor & Employment Groups if you have questions or would like assistance drafting an employee verification letter.