Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -  Will Minnesotans face the risk of being pulled over by a police officer if they are driving somewhere after the state’s new 'Stay at Home' restrictions take effect Friday night? 

Several calls were made to the Rochester Police Dept. dispatch center asking that question after Gov. Walz announced his new order Wednesday.

When it comes to how the 'Stay at Home' order will be enforced in Minnesota, the Governor said, "All Minnesotans are urged to voluntarily comply with this Executive Order. The state is working with local law enforcement to support the order."

RPD Capt. Casey Moilanen says the city is waiting for further direction from the state on how the new order is to be enforced locally, but at this time there is no plan to stop and check to see if a person is an ”essential worker. Moilanen says his officers will continue to enforce traffic and other laws.

The governor’s order allows “essential workers” to continue working at their place of employment. It also permits Minnesotans to shop for essential needs, including food and liquor, and to see their doctors and purchase gasoline.

“We encourage people to use their best sense of judgment in determining whether they must travel,” said Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson. “Staying at home and isolated away from other people is in the best interest of everyone’s health and safety at this time including our deputies and officers.”

The executive order includes exemptions for workers who work at stores providing groceries and other essential supplies, so we expect many of these stores to remain open:

  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, bakeries, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Pharmacies
  • Food shelves
  • Convenience stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Child care facilities
  • News organizations
  • Gas stations
  • Funeral homes
  • Banks
  • Hardware stores
  • Post offices

Workers who provide critical services are exempt. This includes, but is not limited to jobs in healthcare and public health, law enforcement, public safety, and first responders, child care, emergency shelters, homeless shelters, food and agriculture, news media, energy, water and wastewater, and critical manufacturing. 

Other States are requesting drivers receive employer-issued permissions to travel for their work, but at this time, this paperwork is not being requested or checked by local law enforcement in Minnesota.

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