Getting Outside This Weekend? Leaving Home Legally

If you choose to get outside this weekend, know how to leave home legally. At least through May 18, 2020, you cannot leave your home, unless you are performing “Critical Sector” work or are engaging in other activities the government specifically allows.

The latest stay-home order continues to allow “Outdoor Recreational Activity.” That includes activities like fishing, hunting, picnicking, biking, boating, and golfing. But you must follow the DNR’s Outdoor Recreation Guidelines. Six feet separation from members of other households is required. If you are on the water, the 6‑feet rule still applies. Be mindful of boat ramp etiquette, and no bumper boats.

Many outdoor businesses are up and running. Under the Executive Order, “outdoor recreational facilities” are “Critical Sectors.” These facilities include golf courses, driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, game farms, bait shops for live bait, private ski hills, bike trails, dock installation and other lake services, resorts, garden centers, and nurseries, among others. Because of the “Critical Sector” status, employees are able to leave home and keep these businesses staffed. Other outdoor businesses didn’t make the Governor’s cut, such as fishing guides and charter boat operations.

The Executive Order and DNR guidance are detailed. Be sure to review them for rules specific to your outdoor plans or business. For example, bait stores are allowed to be open to sell live bait, but for other retail products, they must comply with all current retail operator requirements, including outdoor pick-up or delivery.

Campgrounds also have detailed rules. “All private and public campgrounds and dispersed camping sites are closed to recreational camping.” But campsites “that serve as a residence, or that serve seasonal renters who maintain personal property at their site, may remain available for occupancy by members of the same immediate household.” For non-recreational campgrounds, communal amenities cannot be open, except bathrooms/shower buildings, retail food stores, laundry facilities, fish cleaning stations, and docks, and only if enhanced cleaning protocols are used.

At golf courses, avoid sharing clubs while golfing and leave the flag stick in the hole. Tournaments are still not allowed. The Department of Public Safety, Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, has taken the position that golf courses may not sell alcohol that will be consumed on the course. It posted on the homepage of their website: “On premises consumption is not allowed on a golf course.”

While it appears you can’t order alcohol at the clubhouse, snacks or pop won’t be a problem. The DNR’s guidelines advise that food and non-alcoholic beverages may be purchased, if consumed away from any “permanent building and any outdoor dining or patio area.”

On the topic of alcohol, if you own a restaurant facility, you may be able to off-sale alcohol with your curbside pickup meals. Under 2020 Minnesota Session Laws chapter 75, qualifying restaurants holding on-sale liquor licenses “may offer off-sales of malt liquor, hard seltzer, cider, and wine with a prepared food take-out order, without obtaining an additional license.”

Enjoy your fishing opener and Mother’s Day. For legal advice specific to the operation of your Minnesota business, please contact us at Dunlap & Seeger, P.A.

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