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Cook County to Restrict Public Access to County Buildings

Mar 24, 2020 01:14PM ● By Editor

Media Release from Cook County Minnesota - March 24, 2020

The Cook County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution restricting public access to county buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution states:

COOK COUNTY RESOLUTION #2020-20

RESTRICTING PUBLIC ACCESS TO COUNTY BUILDINGS DURING THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK OF 2020

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the Governor of the State of Minnesota declared a peacetime emergency related to the transmission of the novel coronavirus and its resulting illness, COVID-19; and on March 17, 2020, the Cook County Board of Commissioners declared Cook County in a STATE OF EMERGENCY for conditions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak;

WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, potentially fatal and known to spread rapidly among populations without preventative measures and rapid action by local authorities;

WHEREAS, Cook County has limited local medical services, a higher than average population of older adults, and a higher than average level of movement across its borders related to Cook County’s tourism industry and its seasonal population;

WHEREAS, public health authorities have recommended that action be taken to reduce likelihood of novel coronavirus transmission in public places and in order to slow down “community transmission” of the virus;

WHEREAS, the Cook County Board of Commissioners has a responsibility to manage operations within its facilities in a way that best protects Cook County employees from becoming ill and best prevents or slows the transmission of the novel coronavirus;

WHEREAS, the Cook County Administrator has requested that members of the public be restricted from entering Cook County facilities and alternative means for providing essential county services be determined and deployed bycounty staff; and

WHEREAS, Sixth District Court Judge Michael Cuzzo and Sixth District Court Chief Judge Sally Tarnowski have been consulted and restricting public access may be accomplished consistent with the recently issued orders of the Sixth District Court and the Minnesota Supreme Court related to continuity of court operations under the COVID-19 outbreak.

THEREFORE, be it resolved that

1.   All Cook County business at least at the level of essential operations shall continue;

2.   The County Administrator is directed to work with county department heads to develop and institute procedures and policies for the provision of essential county services without the requirement of entry into countybuildings; primarily by phone, email, and other means, without unnecessary face-to-face contact between members of the public and county employees;

3.   These procedures shall not be inconsistent with the Orders issued by the Supreme Court of the State of

Minnesota on March 13, 2020, and March 20, 2020; and the Orders issued by the Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial District on March 18, 2020, and March 20, 2020, all concerning continuing operations of the courts and access of the public to the courts;

4.   These procedures shall not be inconsistent with Open Meeting Law (providing access of the public to public meetings of public bodies), Government Data Practices Law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or anyother state or federal law;

5.   The County Administrator is directed to publicize and disseminate the modified procedures the public shall use for accessing county services as soon as possible;

6.   The Cook County Sheriff is requested to assist in enhanced screening procedures as required by the Judicial Branch and intended to reduce the likelihood of coronavirus transmission; and

7.   Effective as of noon, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, all county buildings are closed to physical public access until further notice except as allowed by the County’s modified procedures for access to county services referred to above.

During the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency the County is restricting access to County facilities which includes: Courthouse, Law Enforcement Center, Highway Department Offices, the Community Center. In order to continue providing County Services we would ask the public to contact us in the following ways:

1.       Check our website. It’s possible that the information, form or service you seek is available at www.co.cook.mn.us

2.       Most of our employees are working remotely; phones calls are being forwarded to their remote work locations. Many questions or issues can be resolved through a phone call. It may be that the form or document you need can be mailed to you or emailed to you. Here’s how to contact specific departments.

Administration – 387-3602

Assessor -387-3650

Attorney – 387-3670

Auditor – 387-3640

Community Center/Extension Services – 387-3015

Court Administration -387-3610

Highway – 387-3014

Land Services – 387-3630

Public Health and Human Services – 387-3620

Recorder – 387-3660

Sheriff (non-emergency) – 387-3030

Soil and Water – 387-3647

Veterans Services – 387-3639

Contact:  
Rena Rogers
Interim County Administrator
[email protected]
 

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