In a Wednesday evening speech, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz addressed the state's next steps in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to what was reported by experts earlier in the day,  Governor Walz will loosen restrictions currently in place in the next phase of dealing with the pandemic.

What that looks like is this: Minnesota's 'Stay At Home' order will be allowed to expire on May 18, and will be replaced by a new 'Stay Safe' order. This new order will encourage Minnesotans to continue to use proper precautions like masks, social distancing, and other recommendations to limit the spread of the disease while also allowing for more businesses to open and small gatherings to begin again.

Specifics in the order include provisions allowing for gatherings of 10 or less friends or family members and retail businesses and other establishments to open at 50% occupancy, so long as they have proper mitigation strategies in place.

During his speech, Governor Walz announced two new Executive Orders. The first encourages members the population of the greatest risk to COVID-19 to stay at home. The other order protects employees who raise safety concerns over their work environment from discrimination or retaliation. It also protects workers from loss of income if they refuse to work under conditions that are unsafe or unhealthy.

While the 'Stay At Home' order will expire, Governor Walz is extending his peacetime emergency declaration through June 12, which allows him to enact new policies should the need arise. He also stated that while the state will currently loosen restrictions, that there are parameters that could lead to new restrictions or guidelines. Among those parameters are specific amounts of increase in the number of new cases, percentage of positive tests, and percentage of cases with an unknown source of infection.

The Governor shared a graphic outlining the key parts of what happens as the 'Stay At Home' order expires on Facebook, as seen below.