Brooklyn Center’s Mayor Mike Elliott declared a local public health emergency March 17 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Brooklyn Center City Council digitally hosted a meeting following a press conference and approved the declaration.
“Today, we’re taking the unprecedented step of declaring a local emergency,” Elliott said.
Per the declaration, all city buildings, with the exception of the police station, are closed to the public. The police station service counter will remain open strictly for police-related matters. Buildings will remain closed until April 1 or until further notice.
“Essential services will continue without interruption,” said Curt Boganey, city manager. “Brooklyn Center City employees will be available by telephone and email during this closure.”
Meetings of the City Council, Economic Development Authority, and all other city boards, commissions, and committee meetings will be canceled through the end of April 2020. Special meetings can be called as needed to conduct city business requiring immediate action, as long as they can be conducted by telephone or electronic means.
“To the extent that normal state laws and city policies and procedures impede an efficient response or compliance with federal and state directives and recommendations, the city manager, emergency manager, and their designees are authorized to suspend compliance with those laws, policies, and procedures and to take those actions necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare,” the declaration reads. “The city manager will keep the mayor apprised of the actions taken pursuant to this provision.”
The emergency declaration will remain in effect until the State of Minnesota’s peacetime emergency declaration is withdrawn.
The city has a pandemic plan in place and is constantly adjusting it as needed, Boganey said. “We must act now. All of these actions are based upon one simple premise and that is, we have to do whatever is necessary in order to bend the curve down, to slow down the continued transmission of the virus," he said.
As part of the declaration, the city allocated $10,000 in financial assistance to each of the following organizations: Community Emergency Assistance Programs, The Center for Asian and Pacific Islanders, and West African Family and Community Services. The funds will be used to support the organization's services and food delivery efforts.
City staff and vehicles can be utilized to support food delivery work.
“All city departments are encouraged to evaluate and recommend to the city manager resources that can be acquired and deployed for the purpose of aiding the residents, workforce, and visitors present in the city during the emergency including, but not limited to, ways to support the elderly and other vulnerable populations within our community,” the declaration reads.
The city is encouraging local businesses to establish senior-only shopping hours and place limits on the purchase of items to discourage hoarding.
Follow Kevin Miller on Facebook at facebook.com/mnsunpost