A “Declaration of Emergency” was approved by the Pelican Rapids City Council at an emergency meeting March 20. 

In opening remarks, Mayor Brent Frazier reflected back on  July 4th, 1776, when founding fathers declared we had a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

“Now, we’re experiencing a worldwide threat of life,” said Frazier.  

Further, Frazier described the situation as “unchartered waters.” 

Socially distanced, the council and attendees were scattered around the chambers—six or more feet apart.  On hand were four of five elected officers, Police Chief Jeff Stadum; Brian Olson, public works; city attorney Greg Larson; Danielle Harthun, city clerk; Jade Petznick, Larson Funeral Home; and Don Solga, city administrator. 

A city emergency management team was named. Also, the city approved the Declaration of Emergency, which has become a routine around the state.

Members will include Mayor Frazier, Councilman Steve Foster, City Administrator Solga and city public works superintendent Olson.  

For the immediate future, city hall hours remain unchanged.  The city will continue to function as normal—but with a number of internal measures pertaining to hygiene and safety of employees. 

“At this point, we’re not shut down—but we’re taking internal actions,” said Solga. “Nothing has changed as far as hours of operation at city hall.”

As many as 50 emails a day have been received at city hall, from the state, federal government and various agencies, said Solga.  Information is being posted on the Pelican city website.  

There is also a link to public health information in multiple languages. 

Department heads and staff held nearly daily meetings during the week, said Solga.  Visitors to city hall are asked to use the sanitizer when they arrive, and when they leave. 

The front desk at city hall is behind a plexiglas window, which was installed for security reasons—but now serves as a healthy barrier.  

Other notes from the emergency meeting: 

• City clerk Danielle Harthun reported that Wells Fargo bank is officially closed in Pelican Rapids—including the drive through. 

Deposits from the retail city liquor store, as well as city hall, would need to be driven into either Fergus Falls or Detroit Lakes daily. 

The council voted to approve an account at Minnesota National, to accomodate more convenient daily banking.  Whether or not this would become a permanent change will be pending at the city.

• COVID-19 testing is available at the Sanford Health Pelican clinic.  Essentia Health is conducting tests at a Highway 10 location, near Menards. 

• The emergency declaration will remain in effect until the council rescinds the declaration by a council vote.