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Guest Column: As stakes are high, please be patient, kind

Guest Column by Vern Rasmussen Jr.

 

As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to give my thanks to so many. I want to thank the first responders, health care professionals and essential employees who work in the most extraordinary of circumstances to keep us safe and healthy. I want to thank all of you during these trying times as we remain a community that cares for one another.

Governor Walz recently released Emergency Executive Order 20-99. In this order, many of the previous restrictions we underwent early this spring have returned. In Freeborn County our case rate has never been higher nor the stakes greater. The city has done its part in following these different orders while trying to remain true to our purpose of providing public service. Our staff have worked diligently to maintain services, control costs and find creative alternatives to remain connected to our residents.

Vern Rasmussen Jr.

Most recent changes in service as a result of this order will require the city to close the arena a few days sooner than originally planned. As of 11:59 p.m. Friday the arena like so many other places providing public accommodations can no longer remain open under this order. While the arena and other city services will be ready to open its doors after this pandemic is over, the same cannot be said for all places of public accommodation.

The governor’s order has closed down access to many local businesses. To those who have the means, I encourage you to support our local businesses by making use of their delivery or curbside service where available. We need these businesses to survive in our community, and your added effort is important to our way of life in this community after the pandemic ends. If you do go out to a place of public accommodation that is open for your essential needs, please keep it local, wear a mask, go alone if possible and try not to linger.

Feelings of frustration, depression and anxiety are shared by many in this community. Many will not be able to visit loved ones this holiday following the guidance set by the CDC and within this recent order. While word of new vaccines becoming available gives us all hope, we still have a long way to go until it will be effective on a community level. As we patiently await the availability of a vaccine, we must remain patient and kind with each other.

Information reminders:

• Only when necessary go out in public and wear a mask at all times when around people.

• If you feel sick, stay home and/or get tested.

• If you have, or have been in close contact with COVID-19, follow Minnesota Department of Health guidelines https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/sick.html

• Avoid large gatherings, including Thanksgiving and holiday parties.

• Copies of Governor Walz’s orders: https://mn.gov/governor/news/executiveorders.jsp.

• Information on how to stay safe: https://staysafe.mn.gov/       

• Information on testing and other important COVID facts: https://mn.gov/covid19/

 

Vern Rasmussen Jr. is Albert Lea’s mayor.