Gov. Tim Walz said Wednesday he will replace the Stay At Home order with a Stay Safe order, allowing some retail stores to reopen, and allow gatherings of up to 10 people.
“We know there is no stopping the storm of COVID19 from hitting Minnesota. But we have prepared for it,” Walz said.
Walz signed another executive order to allow retail stores, malls and main street businesses to reopen for in-person shopping as long as they have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place that incorporates social distancing protocols for workers and customers, and limits occupancy to no more than 50% of the location’s capacity.
Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) estimates that this will enable up to 37,000 more workers to return to work over the next several weeks.
Becker PD Rules Of Conduct
Becker Police Chief Brent Baloun said his officers are responding to calls for service as they have in the past yet are asked to wear masks as often as possible during any interaction.
“Gloves are optional depending on the circumstances, but all officers have rubber gloves and most have leather gloves already for searching purposes,” said Baloun.
Baloun says all officers are given hand sanitizers and asked to use it as often as possible. Squad cars are wiped down at the beginning of each shift, and officers are to use hand sanitizers before and after each call, wash hands when entering the PD, etc.
During response to calls, officers are afforded the discretion to take the call over the phone if practical, respond but ask the person to step outside, etc, all to minimize any interaction.
“We respond to all medicals but will determine what the response may be based on information gleaned by the dispatcher and potential information given by MDH,” Baloun said.
As far as supplies, the Becker PD has a small supply of N95 masks for officers, as well as hand sanitizers.
“We have received a few through donations and are currently pursuing some by other means,” said Baloun. “We anticipate the use of masks for some time so want to increase the supply we have to accommodate what may be needed.”
Baloun says his department is well situated with gloves as well.
“The hardest thing to obtain is probably sanitizing wipes,” he said. “We are using disinfectant sprays to clean most surface areas.”
Baloun was asked if his department has been receiving calls from people who report others violating the rules of the stay at home order.
“Yes, we are fielding a few complaints,” he said. “We have received complaints called in by concerned neighbors to one complaint from the Dept. of Public Safety. They have ranged from kids in the parks (playgrounds are still closed, but not the parks), to loud parties and gatherings.”
Baloun says most of the “violators” have been very understanding.
“It’s clear that when we are called in on these instances, people are not abiding by the social distance or number of people gathering rules/expectations,” he says. “While it does depend on the situation, we are not seeing many people wearing masks.”
Baloun says during this pandemic, arrests have significantly dropped in occurrences.
“This is because of some rule changes in bringing people into the jails.,” he said. “As a result, we may not conduct a physical arrest, but rather may do a “long form” complaint, sending the complaint to the county attorney for review and charging at the appropriate time.”
Baloun says it doesn’t mean that his department can’t physically arrest someone, they are just trying to minimize any exposure into the jail system.
“Beyond that, officers are still taking the typical calls for service,” he said.
While numbers are significantly down, Baloun sees that as a positive indicator that people are just trying to get through this pandemic with minimal problems.
Baloun says he has been involved in meetings every other day with the Sherburne County Emergency Operations Center, trying to stay up-to-date on the latest from a regional and state perspective.
“Information I receive is pushed out to my city officials, school admin, etc. to allow us to make the best informed decisions we can based on what the experts tell us,” he says. “While opinions are all over the place, we just ask that people comply with the rules to make it easier for everyone to get through!”