Yesterday Minnesota Gov. Walz issued Executive Order 20–63 (or try revised link here), which generally maintains the prior limit of gatherings to ten people but now permits restaurants, hair salons, churches, and a few other operations to reopen—in a narrowly prescribed manner.
Each business must follow a Minnesota Employer Preparedness Plan Requirements Checklist specific to its industry.
Going Out to Eat—Small Families Only, Please!
Can your family go out to eat? Mine cannot legally sit together at the same table, since we are a household of eight—a demographic reality that also caused us disproportionate hardship when the stores rationed toilet paper on a per household, rather than per person, basis.
➤A limit of two customers may be seated together at the counter for service at any one time.
➤A limit of four customers may be seated together at a table at any one time, unless the customers are a household, then the limit is six customers. (Restaurants and Bars, p. 5; or try revised link here)
Hmm. What if my wife and I sit at the counter, max two, and our six children sit socially distanced from us at a table? For my wife and me, it would be like a date. For the six children and the waiting staff, it would be quite an adventure!
Getting a Haircut?
Here’s how to re-open:
Establish a protocol for clients who refuse to wear a face covering where wearing a face covering is possible. Businesses should consider not providing services under these circumstances when workers and other customers/clients cannot be protected. …
If service that involves face-to-face interaction cannot be performed with a face covering and face shield, then services should not be performed. (Personal Care Services/Salons, p. 6; or revised link here)
Have You Been Delaying Your Tattoo These Past Ten Weeks?
I’ve never gotten a tattoo (and my mom still won’t let me even think about it), so I’m still having trouble imagining this one:
For Tattooing: Consider installing a curtain in-between the worker and the client as to allow the portion of the body being tattooed to be exposed, and minimizing face-to-face contact. (p. 6)
Getting a Facial Massage—Okay, So Long as You Avoid Facial Contact!
A direct quote, honestly:
Evaluate services that involve a face-to-face interaction to determine if they can be done in an alternative way (e.g. facial-waxing, facial-massages, face/mouth piercings). Services should be declined if adequate protective measures cannot be implemented. (p. 6)
Has Someone Touched Your Merchandise?
In case you didn’t want that brand of shampoo after all:
Merchandise return policies should accommodate sanitation and/or delay of restocking the product. (p. 6)
How very odd: churches are forbidden from having Bibles and hymnals for fear of contagion if two people touch the same “ritual object,” but hair salons can accept product returns so long as the staff disinfects the non-religious, and hence non-First Amendment protected, object?
How to Make Sense of It All?
Bear with me patiently, please.
I understand that illness is real, that people’s lives are at stake, that COVID-19 is bad, but that it is not quite so bad in Minnesota as the flu was a few years ago—just look at the CDC’s charts here.
I understand that masks might help, that masks might not help, and that masks might actually harm. The full range of perspectives is collected here.
I also understand that civil government has a legitimate role in maintaining safety and order, including public health, and (the remainder of this sentence also is important...) that civil government first and foremost has a duty to protect the fundamental right to liberty for both individuals and businesses (e.g., Fourteenth Amendment) and, of highest value, the fundamental right to religious free exercise for individuals and churches (First Amendment)—all of which is treated here.
How does the most recent executive order square with all of that?
This is a lot of new information to assimilate for anyone.
It also strains the limits of credulity for someone who for nearly twenty years has taught courses entitled History of Western Legal Traditions, History of the Constitution and the Early Republic, History of the Supreme Court and the American People, and—perhaps the hardest one to reconcile—Logic and Critical Thinking.
Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson is the founding president of Into Your Hands LLC and the author of several books, including Rediscovering the American Republic (2 vols.) and Debating Evolution before Darwinism. He lives with his wife Marie and their homeschooled children in Casper, Wyoming, where he serves as Academic Dean at Luther Classical College. He previously taught American history, history of science, and bioethics at Bethany Lutheran College, 2003–2023 He also serves as President of the Hausvater Project, which mentors Christian parents. For more information, visit www.ryancmacpherson.com.