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COVID-19 Resources for Retailers

A strong retail community is important during all seasons, but especially in times of uncertainty such as the conditions surrounding COVID-19. Below are resources for retailers.

(Updated June 5,4:23 p.m.)

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Looking for the guide to re-open your retail store or customer facing business? Click here! Now added: 30 minute webinar.

July 22: Statewide Mask Mandate Effective July 25

Today Governor Walz announced Executive Order 20-81. This order requires face coverings in indoor spaces and public buildings including retail stores, and in similar outdoor settings where social distancing is not possible. This mandate will go into effect on July 25.

Signage will be required at retail stores. Retailers will be required to make a reasonable effort to educate non-compliant customers. Retailers will be required to deal with a non-compliant customers in a manner similar to how they would deal with any other non-compliant customers relative to store policy.

Any retailer or other impacted party that blatantly disregards the order will be subject to penalties including up to a $1,000 fine or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days.

Business obligations, what a face covering is, and exemptions can be found here: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html

Impacted businesses are required to update their COVID-19 preparedness plan accordingly. Preparedness Plan Requirement Guidance for retail stores can be found here: https://mn.gov/deed/assets/reopening-minnesotas-consumer-facing-businesses_tcm1045-431883.pdf

Local orders that exceed the state order are not preempted, but an analysis by MnRA shows a majority of local masking requirements are superseded by the state order.

In summary, retailers are required to:

  1. Ensure workers and customers are masked.
  2. Update COVID-19 preparedness plans to reflect the masking requirement.
  3. Treat non-compliant customers as you would any other customer violating a store policy.
  4. Post signage indicating masking is required.

See MnRA's statement on the masking order here: https://www.mnretail.org/news/item/mn

July 8: Local Face Covering Requirements List

June 23: DEED Small Business $10,000 Grant Lottery Application Available Now!

The State small business $10,000 grant lottery program application is now live and will be available through July 2.
If the application fails to load, go back and retry the link again.
Also, DEED is hosting several webinars to discuss eligibility, the application and the award process. Click here to see the available webinars.

June 16: Retailers Deemed Critical (Open Throughout Pandemic) Are Required To Have A COVID-19 Preparedness Plan By June 29

All businesses that were deemed critical and have been open throughout the pandemic must have a COVID-19 preparedness plan by June 29 . By this date a plan must be accessible to customers and employees. The Administration released updated guidance that can be accessed here. This webpage includes both an updated preparedness plan template with instructions and retail-related guidance.

 Retail guidance can be found here: https://staysafe.mn.gov/industry-guidance/retail.jsp
 Guidance for other industries can be found here: https://staysafe.mn.gov/industry-guidance/index.jsp

June 5: Governor Walz Turns The Dial; Loosens Restrictions on Businesses

Today, Governor Walz issues Executive Order 20-74 which makes significant moves for reopening the state on Wednesday, June 10.

Effective June 10:

• General gatherings moved up to 25 people outdoor and 10 people indoor;
• Restaurants & bars open to 50% indoor, not to exceed 250 people, reservations required; 250 limit for indoor and 250 limit for outdoor;
• Salons, barbers, etc. open to 50%, not to exceed 250 people; reservations required; both worker and consumer must wear a mask;
• Seated entertainment open to 25%, not to exceed 250 people; includes bowling alleys, movie theaters, museums, etc.;
• Gyms, personal fitness open to 25%, not to exceed 250 people;
• Group exercises classes will be allowed if social distancing is followed;
• Seated entertainment open to 25%, not to exceed 250 people;
• Outdoor entertainment not to exceed 250 people; included sporting events, concerts, and theaters;
• Pools open to 50%;
• Places of worship open to 50%, not to exceed 250 people;
• All the above require social distancing;
• Continued encouragement for staying home;
• All businesses open without the current requirement to have a COVID-19 preparedness plan will be required to have one by June 29 with guidance to be released June 15

Guidance documents found here: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/safework/safe-reopening/.

*All occupancy percentages are based off of businesses fire code.

Paycheck Protection Flexibility Awaiting President Signature

The U.S. Senate passed the House Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act Wednesday night and it is awaiting President Trump's signature. This bill will give businesses up to 24 weeks to spend funds and still qualify for loan forgiveness. It also only requires 60% of the loan to be spent on payroll rather than the original 75% allowing more flexibility on what the loan can be spent on.

May 30: Important Updates Relating To Looting, Vandalism & Arson

Click here for our latest updates relating to store looting, vandalism and arson.

May 23: Governor Revises Guidance For Places Of Worship Beginning May 27, Opens Up Worship & Wedding Options

At a special press conference this afternoon, Governor Walz announced Executive Order 20-62, allowing places of worship the option to allow service options at 25% capacity and in adherence of social distancing  This action will allow more flexibility for weddings and other faith gathering that will impact photographers, florists and other service providers,

May 21: Minneapolis Mayor Announces Mask/Cloth Face Covering Requirement At Public Indoor Locations Beginning Tuesday

This afternoon Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed an emergency regulation requiring all people over the age of two and medically-able to wear a mask or cloth face covering in Minneapolis in buildings of public accommodation starting Tuesday, May 26. Face coverings will be required in: retail stores; hotels; government buildings; schools/universities; recreational facilities; service centers. In addition to the public, Minneapolis business owners must require employees who have face-to-face contact with the public to wear cloth face masks. Business owners also have a right to refuse entry to those who are not complying. Nothing in the emergency order requires businesses to supply face coverings to workers or customers. The City of Minneapolis is focusing compliance efforts on education and does not plan to criminalize forgetfulness or lack of awareness. Click here to view the City of Minneapolis mask FAQ. Click here to view the emergency regulation requiring masks.

May 20: Governor Walz Announces Opening Of Restaurants And Bars To Restricted Outdoor Dining June 1; Salons Opening At 25% Same Date

This afternoon the Governor announced the following:

Restaurants and bars are able to be open for outdoor seating only on June 1.

  • There can be no more than 4 people at a table or 6 from the same family
  • Tables must be 6 feet apart following social distancing guidelines
  • Reservations will be required; no walk-ins allowed
  • Masks will also be required for employees and strongly encouraged for patrons
  • Restaurant can have 50 people maximum at one time in outdoor seating
  • Restaurants are encouraged to check with local government and be creative in making outdoor space available
  • Take-out and delivery options remain

Personal care settings such as salons and barber shops can also re-open on June 1 but cannot exceed more than 25% occupancy at a time.

  • 25% occupancy is based on the fire code/occupancy permit
  • Masks are required for both employees and patrons in these settings
  • Appointments only; no walk-ins allowed

Gatherings rules remain 10 people or less.

Campgrounds can open on June 1 with social distancing measures.

Individual youth sports and sports that are able to be played with under 10 people are allowed. Sports games not allowed at this time. Daytime summer camps are allowed; overnight summer camps are not allowed at this time.

Please visit www.mn.gov/covid19 for more information on the upcoming next phases of the Stay Safe Minnesota plan.

For a graphic view of what's open and what's not and future phases, click here.

May 13: Governor Walz Re-Opens Retail May 18; Stay-At-Home Order Expiring

In an evening address Governor Walz announced a new State initiative that continues to foster social distancing called "Stay Safe Minnesota", replacing the expiring May 18 stay at home order. Stay Safe Minnesota asks people to stay close to home and limit nonessential travel and allows small gatherins of up to 10 people. The Governor stressed the need to continue to wear masks in public, social distance, and telework whenever possible.

In good news for consumers and retailers, retail stores including stores in malls/shopping centers can re-open to guests on May 18. MnRA appreciated the opportunity to work with the Administration and a retail roundtable workgroup to develop reopening guidance for retailers. That guidance can be found here: www.mnretail.org/reopen. See below for MnRA's statement on re-opening retail stores.

Re-opening plans for salons, gyms, restaurants and related businesses are forthcoming with an anticipated opening date around June 1.

Executive Order 20-56 re-opening retailers May 18 has these requirements:
• A COVID-19 preparedness plan (safety plan) addressing social distancing and safety must be crafted and available.
• Retail stores and malls/shopping centers must not exceed 50 percent of their stated occupancy.
• Drive-in movie theaters are open May 18.

Here is a summary of the Governor's Executive Orders announced this evening:

• The Governor has extended his peacetime emergency authority until June 12 - Executive Order 20-53.
• Workers are protected from unsafe working conditions and retaliation during the peacetime emergency - Executive Order 20-54.
• At-risk individuals are encouraged to stay home - Executive Order 20-55.
• Retailers currently closed may re-open to in-store customers under safety plans May 18 - Executive Order 20-56.

Minnesota Retailers Association President Bruce Nustad's Statement on Governor Walz's May 18 Re-Opening Of Retail

Retailers across and in each corner of the State welcome Governor Walz’s announcement this evening that customers can return to in-store shopping May 18 under social distancing best practices.  The safety of customers and workers in stores will be at the forefront of each transaction, and we know when stores re-open on or after May 18 they will be prepared and ready to welcome back customers.

The Minnesota Retailers Association has been working closely with a retail roundtable workgroup representing retailers, chambers of commerce, associations, local government and other stakeholders alongside DEED leadership over the past weeks. The resulting re-open plan puts safety standards in place while allowing retailers to adopt customized protocols based on store layout, type of business and customer flow. The industry’s re-open plan and best practices are drawn from federal, state and local guidance as well as learnings from retailers that have been operating during the pandemic.

We are grateful the Governor took this step today as this action is an important step balancing public health and economic health. We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and his commissioners on the critical next steps for Minnesota’s retailers and consumers.

May 7: Retailers Allowed To Return PPE To Shelves For Sale

Today the Governor’s team confirmed that their intention with the language in elective surgery Executive Order 20-51 is to clear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items for consumer sale. We appreciate the Governor taking this step to allow Minnesota consumers access to PPE at retail stores. Retailers are no longer required to invenstory and hold PPE.

May 1: What You Need To Know For Curbside & Delivery Service May 4

Yesterday, Governor Walz released Executive Order 20-48, which allows retail establishments to begin curbside and delivery services starting Monday, May 4. According to the Administration allowing curbside and delivery services will allow 30,000 Minnesotans get back to work. Here's what you need to know.

In allowing curbside pick-up and delivery, the Governor put out these guidelines:

  • All customer facing retail establishments are eligible for delivery/pick-up starting Monday
    • This includes but is not limited to: household goods rentals, maintenance services, repair services, pet grooming, and more.
  • Every business must develop and post a plan for how to open safely; click here for a template
    • Post the plan in the most practical place possible so employees and customers can see it.
  • Contact-less payment should be used in every possible scenario
  • Employees and customers should wear masks and protective equipment
  • In curbside pick-up, social distancing guidelines apply. Customers should not leave your car if possible
    • You cannot allow customers into retail stores or the business premises.
  • In delivery, items should be deposited outside a customer's residence

For more information on guidance on re-opening businesses click here.

Click here to view MnRA's best practices for delivery and curbside services.

April 30: Governor Opens Curbside & Delivery Service May 5; Extends Stay At Home Order To May 18

Today, Governor Walz released Executive Order 20-48, which extended the stay at home order until Monday, May 18. The Executive Order also allows retail establishments to begin curbside and delivery services starting Monday, May 4. According to the Administration allowing curbside and delivery services will allow 30,000 Minnesotans get back to work.

In allowing curbside pick-up and delivery, the Governor put out these guidelines:

  • All customer facing retail establishments are eligible for delivery/pick-up starting Monday
  • Every business must develop and post a plan for how to do so; click here for a template
  • Online payment should be used in every possible scenario
  • Employees and customers should wear masks and protective equipment
  • In curbside pick-up, social distancing guidelines apple. Do not leave your car if possible
  • In delivery, items should be deposited outside a customer's residence

For more information on guidance on re-opening businesses click here.

MnRA thanks the Governor for opening curbside and delivery across the state. This step is important as laid out in our Critical Next Steps plan. We recognize this is only a short term step and will continue to work with the Governor on re-opening retail stores to customers.

April 24: New Funds For PPP & EIDL Approved; State Opens Unemployment Program For Self-Employed/Independent Contractors

New Funding For Payroll Protection and EIDL Programs Authorized: Following Tuesday's U.S. Senate passage, yesterday the U.S. House passed a $484 billion relief package. This package--similar to previous packages--is aimed at providing relief for employers and employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The President's signature is expected immediately. The new package includes:

  • $310 billion to replenish the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
  • $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
  • $75 billion for hospitals
  • $25 billion for COVID-19 testing

If you missed the initial round of PPP loans as funds ran out, now is the time to apply through an SBA-aligned lender. Click here to see application. While it will take several days for funds to become available we recommend you contact your lender now. For more information on the EIDL program click here.

Unemployment For Self-Employed & Independent Contractors Implemented In Minnesota Under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: The unemployment program for self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and other eligible recipients who cannot receive regular unemployment benefits is available beginning today according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Program details:

  • According to the state, if you already applied for regular unemployment benefits there is nothing more you need to do to qualify and a benefit account will automatically be established for you if you are eligible
  • DEED will be in touch with those eligible for the program by the end of April
  • Recipients will receive the additional $600 per week federal bump
  • Benefits are retroactive to when you first became eligible due to COVID-19
  • Expect to receive information about benefits either in the mail, by email, or in your online account
  • If you have not applied for benefits click here for further instructions

More information can be found here.

A Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA) membership is good business.

MnRA tells your story every day for the betterment of the industry and provides you access to member benefits that simply cannot be efficiently accessed on your own.

Our Promise to the Retail Industry:

MnRA will save members time and money, while making Minnesota a stronger place for retailers to do business.


The Mission of the Minnesota Retailers Association is to promote, preserve and enhance the retail industry in Minnesota by taking a significant leadership position in development of public policy and regulatory measures that impact Members. MnRA will also work to enhance the public image of the retail industry by providing information, services and support that adds value and profitability to its members.


The Minnesota Retailers Association is recognized as the most significant voice representing the retail industry in the public policy arena. Policy makers, community leaders, and valued stakeholders recognize the Association's critical role in shaping public policy important to the profitability of merchants across the state. MnRA's membership is diverse in size and geography. Members recognize that the Association adds value and profitability through its representation before public policy makers, its affinity programs, and as a spokesperson with the print and broadcast media.

MnRA works for every retailer!

Mainstreet Retailers

Mainstreet Retailers

From single store to multiples, MnRA's small business retail members use us to:
  • Stay up-to-date on new laws impacting retailers and consumers.
  • Learn about best practices.
  • Network with peers.
  • Connect with the suppliers offering special small business services.

Join now!

Regional Retailers

Regional Retailers

With a presence in the midwest or across the state, MnRA's regional retail members look to us for:
  • State and local legislative monitoring and engagement.
  • Industry PR efforts.
  • Connections with peers.
  • Effcient ways to connect with regulators and elected officials.

Join now!

National Retailers

National Retailers

Operating across the country, our national retailers count on us for:
  • Timely updates on local and state issues impacting consumers and retailers.
  • Opportunities to discuss their business model with regulators and elected officials.
  • Leadership opportunities.
  • Industry representation before media outlets.

Join now!

  • Think You Know Retail In Minnesota?

    Meet Minnesota's Retail Champions

    Retail in Minnesota is so much more than inventory and cash registers. Watch this video to get a glimpse in to retail across Minnesota!

    Watch now!

MnRA Staff & Resources

Bruce Nustad

Bruce Nustad



Savannah Sepic

Savannah Sepic

Government Relations Manager


Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting

Government Relations


Bookkeeping Services

Where to find us....

The headquarters for MnRA is located in St. Paul, within close proximity to the State Capitol building.

A fee-based parking ramp is located below our office in the Securian Center.

Visitors check in at the security desk on the skyway (2) level.

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