BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today extended access restrictions on certain businesses for an additional 10 days and outlined a path forward for them to reopen as the number of COVID-19 cases in North Dakota continued to climb.
The North Dakota Department of Health today confirmed 24 additional cases of COVID-19 – the highest single-day total to date – bringing the state’s total to 365 confirmed cases, with 142 recovered, nine deaths and 13 currently hospitalized. A total of 11,317 tests have been completed.
Burgum today signed an amended executive order that extends closures for an additional 10 days for businesses including recreational facilities, health clubs and athletic facilities; theaters, including movie theaters and music/entertainment venues; bars and restaurants except for take-out, delivery, curbside and drive-through; licensed cosmetologists, including salons and barber shops; and personal care services including tattoo parlors, tanning and massage facilities.
“We’re doing this to protect the health and safety of business owners, their employees and their customers,” Burgum said. ”Our goal since this pandemic began has been to protect our most vulnerable citizens – the elderly and those with serious underlying health conditions – and to slow the spread of COVID-19 to ensure we have adequate hospital capacity in case of a surge of patients. We are on the right track, but we are not far enough down that track to safely lift business restrictions. We’ll continue to take a measured approach and targeted actions to save lives and livelihoods.”
Burgum noted the extension of closures through April 30 aligns with the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, known as “30 Days to Slow the Spread,” which were released March 31.
The governor outlined what needs to be in place to have a graduated reopening process past April 30:
- Robust, widespread rapid testing capacity
- Robust contact tracing and infrastructure
- Targeted, effective quarantine
- Protections for the state’s most vulnerable populations
- Sufficient health care capacity, hospital/ICU beds
- Adequate PPE availability for the health care system and public
- New standard operating procedures for reopening
- Plans for dealing with a resurgence or additional waves of COVID-19.
As the state continues working to implement, expand and improve upon these areas with a whole-of-government approach, the North Dakota Department of Commerce will lead the reopening planning efforts, which Burgum dubbed “ND Smart Restart.”
Over the next few days, Commerce, which began forming an Economic Resiliency Team at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, will work directly with associations that represent the businesses affected by the closures to develop new standard operating procedures for a graduated safe reopening. Such procedures could include daily disinfection procedures, mandatory health and hygiene protocols for employees, discontinued use of shared items, limiting the number of customers allowed into the business at one time, and requiring that masks be worn inside the business.