Governor Walz announced today that Minnesota will be under a Stay at Home plan from midnight Friday March 27, 2020 until Friday, April 10, 2020. It is similar to the Shelter in place plan in so many other states, so we can certainly learn best practices from our friends and families in other states.
What does that mean for Minnesota jobs, practically?
- If you work in a non-critical sector such as dining-in restaurants, bars, and health clubs, you can’t go into your job. Those businesses will continue to be closed until at least May 1, and those employees are eligible for a special unemployment insurance program.
- If you can do your job from home, you can do it no matter what industry you are in!
- Students will all be doing remote learning until at least May 4.
- If you work in a critical sector, you can go to work, and that is a wide leeway. In fact, 78% of Minnesotans work in critical industries. Critical jobs include health care (including Communities of Care), medical equipment and food, but they also include energy workers, heat, internet providers, legal, and clergy. It also includes liquor stores; I’ll just leave that there.
What does that mean for Minnesotan’s day to day life, practically?
- It means that you should stay in your house together with your household members, and not interact in close physical contact with people outside your household.
- However, we can all go out for essentials like groceries, doctor visits, and gasoline.
- We can also play outside in our yards and go for walks and bike rides. When you are out in your neighborhood, use 6 foot social distancing.
The reason for this plan at this time is that we have done a great job at social distancing (reducing 50% of contact) and we have slowed the curve of Covid-19 infections, but not enough. Stay at Home plan reduces contact by 80% and will slow infection rates faster. The reason for doing this is to buy time to make more ICUs and ventilators and medical supplies. It is very likely that the same number of people will get infected with Covid-19 by the time it is done, just over a longer period of time. That longer period of time means that there will be enough medical care for everyone who needs it when they need it. That means we will have fewer fatalities from Covid-19, and that’s a good reason.
So let’s get creative! Let’s learn how to cook, remember how to call each other, resurrect old hobbies, and most of all, let’s have some grace for each other in this time of new experiences. As Tim Benjamin, Executive Director & Editor-in-Chief of the Access Press, long-time advocate of the disability community, and champion of home care said in an email to me yesterday, “These are some crazy times. Will get through this one, and the next one, and the next one.” Indeed we will.