Both Two Harbors and Silver Bay City Councils declared local states of emergency at meetings on Monday, March 23 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Silver Bay declares emergency

At a special meeting on Monday, the city council followed Lake County's lead to declare a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We are covered for the funding portion thanks to the national and state levels. But in order to handle issues and policies on an immediate basis, the city should declare a state of emergency, as well," said City Administrator Lana Fralich.

The council approved the declaration unanimously.

Officials had already closed public buildings such as the Silver Bay Public Library and the bar section of the municipal liquor store the previous week, but the declaration made it official to close city offices to the public. The city will remain open for business. Services will be provided to the community by phone, email, U.S. Postal Service and the City Hall Dropbox.

The Liquor Store will be curbside pick-up only and customers are to call 218-226-3106 to pre-order. The Mary MacDonald Center is open for business purposes only. There are no changes to the airport. More information can be found on the city website at silverbay.com and by calling the office at 218-226-4408.

Two Harbors council approves previous actions

The City of Two Harbors had already taken steps to close city buildings to the public as of March 18, but made the declaration of emergency official at the council meeting on Monday, March 23. City Administrator Dan Walker advised the council that the declaration was necessary as it streamlined the decision-making process.

"A local declaration allows us to make a little more decision-making on the fly without some of the processes we normally go through," Walker said. "We’re working with our executive team with the council president, mayor, chief of police and administration staff to make those decisions, and they will be brought before the council at the next meeting."

The measure also allows the council to decide whether to hold public meetings via telephone and/or other video technology. The public would be provided a way to monitor these meetings via phone if desired.

Although the city already suspended committee meetings until May 1 with the previous declaration, Council President Robin Glaser said some committees could choose to meet via phone if absolutely necessary.

"I know we have some major projects in the works and might have to continue to work on those projects," Glaser said. "We can go through city administration to make arrangements for those meetings, though I know you're probably truly overwhelmed at this point."

"We're just regular whelmed, at this point," Walker said. "We're in difficult times, but we're northern Minnesotans, so we'll push through and take care of each other."

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