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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —Starting Friday night, people in Minnesota are being ordered to stay home. There are some exceptions for people to shop for food or medicines, go outside or commute to their jobs in sectors that are considered “critical.”

So, how does the state decide which sectors are critical? Good Question.

In the Governor’s Executive Order, there are six pages dedicated to listing the critical sectors. Many of the list are obvious, like healthcare, law enforcement, wastewater and grocery stores.

But, some viewers have emailed WCCO wondering: Why are sectors like liquor stores, home construction or dry cleaners on the list?

“The attempt here is to strike a proper balance so our economy can function, we protect the most vulnerable, we slow the rate to buy us time and build out our capacity to deal with this,” Governor Tim Walz said on Wednesday when he announced the order.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), 78% of Minnesota jobs are in critical industries, like public works, energy, financial services, teachers and much more.

At the same time, Governor Walz said this executive order would bring down Minnesotans’ social interactions down 80%.

Most of the guidance on what’s considered part of the critical infrastructure workforce comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) document was developed by federal agency partners, industry experts and state and local officials.

“We’ve gone even further than that CISA guidance to provide some additional industries that we believe are critical for Minnesota in the coming weeks,” said Minnesota DEED Commissioner Steve Grove.

Like other Minnesota trade associations, the Builders Association of Minnesota asked Governor Walz earlier this week to be considered critical.

According to Grace Keliher, executive Vice-President of the Builders Association of Minnesota, home construction should be considered essential. She says think of the families whose only bathroom in the house is being remodeled or whose roof is only half-finished before we enter rainy season. She believes many companies are working now to finish up home construction jobs.

“People who are in the middle of a kitchen remodel,” Keliher said. “That may not sound essential but if you don’t have a stove to cook food or a refrigerator to keep it cold, that’s a different story.”

When asked about why liquor stores are considered critical, Governor Walz said yesterday, “It’s not a flippant question, it’s one of those things that relieves people and adults make choices that they needs, so those will remain open.”

Minnesota DEED also makes the point that some critical sectors have workers who are deemed critical and other that aren’t right now. For anyone who still needs clarification on their business or job, MN DEED has set up an online form to send in questions.

Heather Brown

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