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Am I considered an essential worker under Minnesota's 'Stay at Home' order?

Workers in "critical sectors" are exempt from Minnesota's "Stay at Home" order. But what are the critical sectors?

One of the most common questions KARE has received since Gov. Tim Walz issued his "Stay at Home" order is: "Am I considered an essential worker?"

The executive order, which goes into effect for two weeks starting Friday, March 27 at 11:59 p.m., lays out the reasons people are allowed to leave their homes. Things like going to the grocery store, taking care of a friend, getting medication, or getting outdoor exercise.

Everyone is ordered to work from home if possible. Only "critical workers" are allowed to leave their homes for work.

What's included under critical work? State officials actually say 78% of jobs are. Below we're listing every category covered by the order.

If you're still not sure whether you fit, here's what the state asks you to do. Fill out the form on this page, or email criticalsectors@state.mn.us. You can also read the full executive order here.

RELATED: Walz issues 'Stay at Home' executive order for 2 weeks in Minnesota

RELATED: Stay at Home orders in Minnesota, Wisconsin explained

'Critical sectors' exempt from the 'Stay at Home' order:

  • Health care and public health. This includes health care and public health workers listed in federal CISA guidance, along with:
    • Reproductive health care, childbirth services, mental health care, and substance use treatment. 
    • Workers supporting manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of personal care, hygiene, and healthcare products.  
    • Home care and human services workers from government or non-profit providers who are delivering food, prescriptions, case management services, mental health and substance abuse therapy, or who are otherwise caring for a client. 
    • Home-based care for adults, seniors, and children, including people with disabilities or substance use disorders. This includes meal delivery and one-on-one interpreting services for people who are blind or deaf.
  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders. 
    • In addition to those listed in CISA guidance, this includes corrections personnel, state and county probation officers, supervision agents, victims’ advocates, animal control officers, humane officers, and all workers who support electronic security and life-safety services.
  • Food and agriculture.
    • This category is limited to food and agriculture workers listed in the CISA guidance, including agricultural equipment repair services. References to "beverages" include alcoholic beverages.
  • Energy.
    • This category is limited to energy workers listed in the CISA guidance.
  • Water and wastewater.
    • This category is limited to water and wastewater workers listed in the CISA guidance, including State Parks workers who maintain water and wastewater infrastructure, workers who perform work related to residential wells and septic tanks, and workers who supply bottled water or home filtration systems in areas where that is a health necessity.
  • Transportation and logistics. In addition to those covered by CISA guidance, this includes:
    • State, county, and local government agencies and agency workers, as well as private sector workers, who support or enable transportation functions, including engineers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians (including workers at maintenance and repair shops), warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers that maintain and inspect infrastructure (including those that require crossborder travel).
    • Workers engaged in roadway construction, maintenance, and utility projects.
    • Public transit workers.
    • Bicycle shops and distribution facilities.
    • Automobile sales that are necessary to allow for essential travel, when conducted by appointment, and only when CDC and MDH guidelines, including social distancing, can be met.
  • Public Works. In addition to public works workers listed in the CISA guidance, this includes:
    • Construction material suppliers and workers providing services necessary to maintain construction material sources.
  • Communications and information technology. In addition to communications and information technology workers listed in the CISA guidance, this includes:
    • Workers who support news services of all kinds, including newspapers, radio, television, and other forms of news media.
  • Other community-based government operations and essential functions. In addition to the community-based and government essential functions listed in the CISA guidance this includes:
    • Election support services and election administration workers
    • Housing, shelter, and homelessness-prevention staff of state and local agencies and organizations responsible for ensuring safe and stable housing, including workers from state and local agencies and organizations with responsibility for ensuring safe and stable housing; shelter outreach or drop-in center programs; financing affordable housing; and administering rent subsidies, homeless interventions, operating supports, and similar supports. This includes workers necessary to provide repairs, maintenance, and operations support to residential dwellings.
    • Workers performing all other governmental functions which are necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public, to preserve the essential elements of the financial system of government, and to continue priority services as determined by a political subdivision of the State. All political subdivisions of the State will determine the minimum personnel necessary to maintain these governmental operations.
    • Workers supporting building code enforcement necessary to maintain public safety and health of essential infrastructure and any construction as required in response to the COVID-19 peacetime emergency including but not limited to construction of health care facilities and essential businesses and services, or construction as required for emergency repairs and safety purposes.
  • Critical manufacturing. This includes workers listed in the CISA guidance, along with iron ore mining and processing operations and supplier/vendor industries essential to such mining and processing operations.
  • Hazardous materials. See workers listed by CISA.
  • Financial services. This includes banks, credit unions, insurance companies, insurance agencies, and other workers listed by CISA. 
  • Chemical. See workers listed by CISA.
  • Defense industrial base. This category is limited to defense industrial base workers listed in the CISA guidance.
  • Tribal governments. Tribal officers and workers deemed essential by the relevant Tribal government, regardless of residence.
  • The Judicial Branch. The Chief Justice decides which jobs are essential to ensure the continued operations of Minnesota’s court system.
  • The Executive Branch. Personnel deemed necessary to continue priority services of executive branch agencies, offices, departments, divisions, boards, bureaus, councils, committees, institutions, authorities, and commissions, as well as the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Minnesota State Retirement System, Public Employees Retirement Association, and Teacher’s Retirement Association, as determined by the Commissioner of Management and Budget in consultation with those agencies and entities.
  • Executive Constitutional Offices. Constitutional Officers and personnel deemed essential by the applicable Constitutional Officer to ensure the continued operations of the Constitutional Office.
  • The Legislative Branch. Personnel deemed essential by the presiding officers of each body.
  • Federal employees. Nothing in this Executive Order will be construed to limit, prohibit, or restrict in any way the operations of the federal government, or the movement of federal officials in Minnesota while acting in their official capacity, including federal judicial, legislative, and executive staff and personnel.
  • National Guard. This includes National Guard members that are on orders, to include state active duty, Title 32, or Title 10 orders and members in an Inactive Duty for Training status. At the discretion of the Adjutant General, it includes full-time staff of the Minnesota National Guard or Department of Military Affairs that are necessary for the execution of the National Guard’s mission.
  • Faith leaders and workers. Officials, workers, and leaders in houses of worship and other places of religious expression or fellowship, wherever their services may be needed. Also includes workers necessary to plan, record, and distribute online or broadcast content to community members.
  • Education. Educators and other workers supporting public and private schools, as well as higher education. Also includes educators and other workers providing care to children as determined by other executive orders.
  • Construction and critical trades. Workers in the skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC and elevator technicians, and other related construction of all kind. This category also includes exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, moving and relocation services, security staff, operating engineers, and all other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes and residences and these critical sectors.
  • Child care providers. This category includes workers in child care centers, family child care, schools, and other facilities. Such providers are encouraged to remain open to provide child care services for workers in these critical sectors as possible and insofar as public health guidance can be followed. This category also applies to individuals providing child care for critical sector workers in a personal home, such as family, friend, and neighbor care.
  • Hotels, residential facilities and shelters. Workers supporting hotels and motels, facilities and shelters for adults, seniors, and children, including victims of domestic violence, people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance abuse disorders, or mental illness. Such facilities and shelters include halfway houses and residential treatment programs. This category also includes workers needed to keep apartment complex buildings and other congregate residences or homes operational and sanitary.
  • Shelters for displaced individuals. Workers supporting emergency shelters, drop-in centers, and encampments, as well as outreach workers. Governmental and other entities are strongly urged to make 24-hour shelter available as soon as possible, to the maximum extent practicable, and in compliance with CDC guidance.
  • Charitable and social services organizations. Workers supporting organizations that are engaged in hunger relief work, and those that provide food, shelter, prescription delivery, mental health and substance abuse treatments, and other social services, as well as other necessities of life for individuals in need of such services, older adults who live alone, people with disabilities, and those who need assistance as a result of this emergency.
  • Legal services. Workers who are necessary to provide essential legal services. Essential legal services include:
    • Advice and representation needed to aid the delivery of all critical government services.
    • Advice and representation required to ensure the immediate and critical health, safety, and liberties of Minnesotans, including but not limited to, end-of-life planning, immigration, essential services to elders and persons with disabilities, child supports, child-protection and domestic abuse matters, protection of personal financial resources necessary to meet basic needs, prosecution or defense in ongoing criminal matters, or all matters in which individuals are held in custody pending a legal proceeding, and proceedings held in the district or appellate courts during the effective period of this order.
    • Advice and representation related to the continuation of these critical sectors, including ensuring compliance with this executive order, previous executive orders, and all applicable laws, rules, and regulations applying to critical sectors.
    • Supporting housing and shelter-related efforts, including loan applications, loan processing, seeking temporary relief from residential and commercial loan or lease provisions, retention of gas, electric, or water utility services, and seeking temporary relief from residential evictions or foreclosures, or other actions intended to keep people in their homes.
  • Notaries. Notaries performing services that cannot be deferred and which cannot be accomplished via remote services under Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 358.645.
  • Critical Labor Union Functions. Labor union essential activities, including the administration of health and welfare funds, and monitoring the wellbeing and safety of members providing services in the critical sectors.
  • Laundry services. This category is limited to workers who support laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers for other critical sectors.
  • Animal shelters and veterinarians. This category is limited to veterinarians and workers at animal care facilities or Department of Natural Resources workers who provide food, shelter, veterinary services, and other necessities of life for animals.
  • Real estate transactions. Workers who facilitate and finance real estate transactions and real estate services, including appraisers and title services.
  • Essential Supply Stores. Workers at businesses that sell products, tools, materials, or supplies necessary for: (1) the above critical sectors to continue their essential operations, (2) for workers to work from home, or (3) for the maintenance of the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes or residences.

Even for workers in the above categories, the order directs work to adhere to the social distancing and hygiene standards put out by MDH and CDC, "to the maximum extent possible."

Anyone who is still not sure if their work is considered "essential" can fill out the form at this website, or email criticalsectors@state.mn.us.

If you want to report a violation of the Stay At Home order, DO NOT call 9-1-1. Instead, you can call 651-793-3746 or email SAHviolation@state.mn.us.

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