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Minnesota 'stay at home' restrictions frustrate outdoor photographers

Alex Jokich
Updated: May 07, 2020 07:20 PM
Created: May 07, 2020 07:00 PM

Some photographers in Minnesota are frustrated by state restrictions on outdoor photoshoots.

Under Minnesota's "stay at home" order, they are not allowed to work, even if they are outside.

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"There is nothing about it that makes sense," said Kelly Grundhauser of Kelly Birch Photography. "If I can pass 100 people at the dog park, there's no reason why if I'm holding my camera in my hand, all of a sudden its dangerous."

The state is telling photographers they "aren't able to return to work yet, even if they're not charging."

Now some photographers are crossing the border into other states, like Wisconsin, where outdoor sessions are allowed as long as social distancing is possible.

Grundhauser is also a nurse and said she understands the need for certain rules but does not believe outdoor photography with proper precautions poses a safety risk.

"Even if I use safety precautions, even if I put my mask on, even if I stay 6 feet away, even if we're outside, I think there are safe ways we can do this," Grundhauser said.

She said she is currently forced to turn down requests from clients, even those capturing special moments, like proposals and newborn sessions.

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"These are milestones that I can't make up later because time is flying by," Grundhauser said. "A newborn is only a newborn for so long. Certain things are timely."

Under the current restrictions, photographers are also not allowed to photograph weddings. Grundhauser said it is especially difficult to communicate that to couples who have already had to make so many other difficult decisions about their weddings.

"We've been looking forward to it for a year and a half, and it's really important to me to have photos of that day," said Theresa Heier, who is getting married in early June.

Heier and her fiancé Joe Thomas will likely have to downsize their wedding to a small backyard ceremony.

"We really do want to make sure we have somebody there to document it so we can send lots of photos to people who are unable to make it," Thomas said.

The governor's office told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that outdoor photography isn't a critical sector and isn't in any of the non-critical sectors that have been permitted to reopen with new guidelines.

The governor's office did not provide a timeframe for when photography, including outdoor photography, would be allowed.

"Our team is working hard to find ways to get Minnesotans back to work safely," the spokesperson said. "We have made significant progress on this front and will continue to do so in the weeks to come."

Grundhauser said she hopes Minnesota will consider making changes that are in line with neighboring states.

"We're all hurting, all of us are, and we know there are ways we can do this safely, but I feel like because we're all small, independent voices and we're not one big voice, it's making it much more difficult for our voice to be heard on the level of the governor," Grundhauser said. "I love Minnesota. I just don't love what's happening right now."


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