Press Release - From the Office of the Willmar City Administrator Mar 27, 2020

NEWS RELEASE

DATED: March 27, 2020

From the Office of the Willmar City Administrator

In response to Governor Walz’s Emergency Executive Order 20-20, the City of Willmar is preparing to implement portions of the Pandemic Disease Continuity of Operations Plan for the City of Willmar. This plan was created in the past weeks to layout procedures to address the current pandemic COVID-19 disease and any future pandemic diseases.

The Willmar City Council is complying with Executive Order 20-20 and is implementing the stay-at-home order unless a city job classification engages in activities and critical sector work. The activities and critical sector exemptions are listed in Executive Order 20-20, CISA Guidance Document, Sections 5 and 6. As you might expect, exceptions to the stay-at-home order for city operations are Police, Fire, Wastewater facility, Building Inspection, and Public Works Departments. The plan is to keep service pertaining to public safety at normal levels, reduce activities that are not immediately required, and send employees to stay at home whenever possible. There may be services within these departments that will be delayed or eliminated in the upcoming two weeks in order to address higher priority public safety activities. Public Safety is our utmost concern.

The other city departments will have staff stay at home and those that can will work remotely. Residents that have questions need services or information should continue to call the regular city department phone numbers during normal working hours. Your call will be forwarded to the off-site department staff to assist you as soon as it is set up. If you have the email address of the person you are wanting to contact please use that as your means of contact or use the general email address on the City website www.willmarmn.gov.

The City Council will be canceling the April 6th City Council meeting as it falls within the two-week timeframe set by the Governor. Staff is anticipating returning to normal operations on April 13th and will support the Committees as they prepare agenda items in preparation for the April 20th City Council meeting. We are using a digital meeting system and will strive to have public access to all public meetings. The March 25th digital City Council meeting was held and we should be able to hold and broadcast to the public future meetings during this federal, state and local emergency time period.

We appreciate your patience as we try to comply with Executive Order 20-20 to assist our community in reducing the number of patients that our healthcare facilities will deal with as the COVID-19 disease spreads into our community over the next few weeks. I anticipate that future updates from the Governor, Department of Health, CDC or other State, Federal and local agencies will alert us to additional actions we as a community will take.

Please continue to follow the stay-at-home order, social distancing, washing of hands, and cover your cough, but remember, please do not congregate in large groups. It has been recommended that playground equipment in our parks not be utilized.

Thank you in advance for your understanding of the efforts the city is taking to comply with Governor Walz’s Emergency Executive Order 20-20. Please monitor the City web site www.willmarmn.gov for notices and messages for city operation updates.

Brian Gramentz Willmar City Administrator March 27, 2020