Following Gov. Tim Walz's executive order asking Minnesota residents to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, law enforcement hopes to educate rather than enforce.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said officers should use their discretion when responding to a call regarding alleged executive order violations. While local police and sheriff's offices are required to enforce the order, authorities said issuing a misdemeanor citation is likely only if someone refuses to comply with the officer's attempts to gain compliance.

Sheriffs have asked that arrests be a last resort for people who have violated the executive order.

Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly said in a news release Friday, March 27 that deputies will not be be pulling over residents who leave their homes. While jurisdictions in other states are requesting drivers to receive employer-issued permissions to travel to and from work, Goodhue County Sheriff's Office is not requesting that at this time.

"My belief and my experience tell me that Minnesotans are doing an excellent job of self-regulating already by social distancing as well as staying at home,” Kelly said.

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman said in a news release that many residents have been utilizing local parks, but need to be more diligent about practicing social distancing, especially young people.

Starting March 30, all public playground equipment will be off limits in Red Wing because the equipment cannot be adequately sanitized, the city annoucned.

As a reminder, Red Wing parks are closed from 10:30 p.m. until sunrise. Minors ages 15 to 18 have curfew from midnight to 5 a.m., and minors under the age of 15 have curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Executive order justifications for why someone may leave their home include:

  • Relocation to ensure safety
  • Health and safety activities
  • Outdoor activities
  • Necessary supplies and services
  • Essential work and interstate travel
  • Care of others
  • Displacement

For more information, visit the Department of Public Safety's website.

As a public service, we've opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status.