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More local COVID-19 steps

By Staff | Apr 5, 2020

Playground equipment in Blue Earth has been fenced off to keep children from congregating in groups on the equipment.

There were only two items on the agenda when the Blue Earth City Council met in a special meeting last Monday night.

COVID-19 emergency measures and actions and a closed session to discuss an employee complaint issue.

The council has been meeting every Monday night to take care of any issues caused by the state orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Last Monday the council discussed and took action on several items dealing with COVID-19 locally, including:

Voting to fence off the playground equipment in city parks in an attempt to keep kids from congregating in large groups.

“We are the only city in the area that has not taken action on this,” Public Works director Jamison Holland said. “Most cities are either posting signs, putting up tape around the items or fencing them off.”

The council decided to pull off the swings and wrap all the equipment with plastic fencing.

Authorized the Brush Site to be open starting immediately, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The site will be unmanned on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and manned on Saturdays. If persons dump trash, the site will have to be manned on all days.

The council suggested putting up more signs as to where branches and leaves can be dumped.

Voted to suspend rent payments for one business in the Ag Center for the time being.

Serenity Massage asked for a hiatus on rent as they are closed due to the state orders.

The council did agree that if any business gets government aid then they would need to pay their business rent.

Decided to keep the dog parks open at this time, but to install a sign that says no more than two persons at a time are allowed in the two parks.

Heard a report from police chief Tom Fletcher that his staff is still on patrol and that the town is still pretty busy during the days, but looks like a “ghost town” at night.

“We are not randomly pulling people over to check on why they are out,” Fletcher said. “If they are driving OK, we leave them alone.”

They also had written reports from fitness center director Michelle Hall, librarian Eva Gaydon and senior center director Linda Jahnke.

All three are keeping busy with painting, bookwork and other activities while still remaining closed to the public.

Gaydon did report she is accepting phone calls from library members who want to rent books and other items, then leaving the items in a bag in the library entry way to be picked up.

Authorized the newly hired Housing and Rehabilitation Authority (HRA) director, Megan Hanson-Haase, to take a training course remotely. It would be three, 2-hour sessions.

As far as the closed session, the council met for 20 minutes for discussion on the complaint against Blue Earth Wine and Spirits liquor store employee David Childs.

When they came out of closed session, city attorney David Frundt said staff gave a status update on the employee David Childs case concerning the union contract and the issues associated with that contract. No action was taken.