Minnesota Agencies Can Begin Reopening for Business If Appropriate Safety Protocols Are Implemented
On Friday, April 24, 2020, Minnesota Governor Walz issued Emergency Order 20-40, which begins the process of getting Minnesota workers safely back to work. Included in the list of businesses that can reopen are “office-based businesses”. Such businesses are described as businesses where workers do their work within an office space, at their desk, and their work is primarily not customer-facing. This definition would apply to a typical collection agency environment.
In order to reopen, a business must establish and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan as set forth in additional guidance published by DEED and DLI (“Plan Guidance”). This information is available at: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/safework/non-critical/.
A sample Preparedness Plan can be found here: http://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/COVID_19_business_plan_template.pdf.
All plans must establish health screening protocols for workers at the start of each shift. Plans must also ensure that all workers who can work from home continue to do so. The order specifically states: “Nothing in this Executive Order should be interpreted to allow or encourage workers who can work from home to leave home for work. As ordered in Executive Order 20-33, all workers who can work from home must do so.”
Collection professionals “can” currently work from home based on “no action” guidance from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The “no action” guidance ends April 30th.
Accordingly, based on current guidance outlined in this summary regarding the interplay between the “no action” work from home guidance and this just-issued Executive Order, collection professionals can return to collection agency offices provided COVID-19 Preparedness Plan requirements are established and implemented. That said, if the Minnesota Department of Commerce extends its “no action” work from home expiration date, then collectors would not be allowed to return to the workplace under this order.