Mound city council members opted May 12 to suspend rentals of its Depot at Surfside Park and Beach for the duration of the year, citing the continued uncertainty around the coronavirus as the summer event season fast approaches.
“We do not feel it’s appropriate to provide this indoor gathering space where we’re responsible for the sanitizing,” said Catherine Pausche, finance director for Mound, adding that the city would not be able to take on the liability of policing events for social distancing.
“It’s not an essential service we provide—it’s a very valuable service, I recognize, and I’m very sorry for all the graduations and weddings and other family events that will be affected, but I think it’s appropriate we make this call now and just bring more certainty to people with regard to the depot and with regard to outdoor recreational public gathering permits; that we just make sure we’re putting it conditional upon them being able to meet the standards in place at the time,” said Pausche.
Council members agreed to the suspension 4-1, with council member Paula Larson voting against the measure. Larson had indicated during a friendly poll taken just prior to the official vote that she would prefer any suspension go only through August, not the end of the year.
Gov. Tim Walz, with his May 13 executive order, began loosening some restrictions on businesses and public gathering, ending the stay-at-home order that had been in place since March 27. The recent order, however, still prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people.
Already, many of those who had had their requests for public gathering permits approved have since voluntarily rescinded them, said Pausche.
The annual Fish Fry, put on by the Mound Fire Department and originally scheduled for June 6, has been called off for this year, and Westonka Community & Commerce confirmed that Dog Days will be canceled for the second year in a row. Both events are expected to return next year.
Other events are still on the calendar. No Nonsense Wrestling’s Jake Saatzer confirmed that the July 25 Beach Brawl is still on, saying that he and his team of organizers will look to any new guidelines as they come and will comply with those in place at the time of the event.
For those who have not withdrawn their requests, extra measure have been added.
The resolution approved by Mound city council May 12 also includes provisions for those public gathering permits already granted, effectively attaching conditions to these permits that any event still taking place also fall in line with the strictures of any current executive order at the time of the event and that organizers adhere to current guidelines around number of attendees, social distancing and ability to provide adequate sanitation as laid out at the time of the event by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“This basically allows us to continue to keep alive the public gathering permits that we have authorized so far with an expectation that the planner respond to the guidance that’s in place at the time of their event and share that plan with us,” said Eric Hoversten, Mound city manager. “This prevents us from having to cancel everything.”
FESTIVALS POSTPONED, CALLED OFF
Organizers for Mound’s Spirit of the Lakes haven’t yet cancelled that longstanding celebration, but the date for it has been pushed out by two months from July 10-11 to a tentative Sept. 19. The festival has also been slimmed down from its usual Friday and Saturday to just a one-day affair.
Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church has moved its Incredible Festival to Oct. 2-4. The festival was originally scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 19.
Outside of Mound, neighboring cities’ community festivals have already been cancelled without any word of a reschedule for later this year.
St. Boni’s annual Spass Tagen—auf Deutsch, “Fun Days”—originally scheduled for June 27, is one of the latest casualties. Organizers for Spass Tagen announced the decision April 20 on the festival Facebook page, echoing the common sentiment of other cancellations: “In an effort to continue keeping the Covid-19 spread low and to be Socially and Financially responsible we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event,” the announcement reads. The event was pushed out a full year to June 26, 2021.
May 16, which was to be this year’s Trista Day, passed quietly, no fete in sight; and the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce announced May 11 that the largescale 4th of July celebration that has lit up Lake Minnetonka for 131 years is, for 2020, kaput.