Governor Tim Walz says his stay-at-home order, effective first thing Saturday morning through April 10th, will delay when COVID-19 cases peak in Minnesota, giving the state time to be ready with sufficient medical services:

“We will be able to… (transform) our arenas or our stadiums into hospitals. We may be able to use motel space… (and) stand up those rooms. We will be able to stockpile the personal protective equipment and get the ventilators into the system.”

Walz says 85 percent of people who get COVID-19 have only mild symptoms, but 15 percent require hospitalization — and a third of those hospitalized will need to be in the I-C-U.

Minnesotans can still get groceries, fill the gas tank, see the doctor, and care for others including pets, under Governor Walz’s stay-at-home order which takes effect first thing Saturday. Walz says in addition:

“Outdoor activities: Be smart about this. Don’t congregate together, but if you can get out and social-distance and walk, that’s good things. If you’re running, please do so and stay away from one another. But those are things you can continue to do.”

Certain jobs are also exempt from the governor’s stay-at-home order, including health care and related fields, law enforcement and first responders, employees at emergency shelters and congregate living facilities, child care, food and agriculture, energy, water and wastewater treatment, and critical manufacturing.

Walz has a message for those whose job or business is *not* on the list:

“That does not mean that the economic activity you provide– if you are a shop owner, providing retail sales, you are a part of the fabric of this state and absolutely important.”

But Walz says the state needs to push back the time when COVID-19 cases peak in Minnesota so that adequate extra medical services are in place. He says to give that extra time, statewide restrictions must stay in place a while longer.

Walz says he’s talked to Archbishop Bernard Hebda and the Catholic bishops:

“Understanding that there is a health component, there is a mental health component, there is a(n) economic component of this, there’s a social component, and there’s a spiritual component.”