County board members, in coordination with County Public Health Director Jody Lien, on May 19 urged county residents to continue wearing their non-medical mask/cloth coverings and practice social distancing.

“Employees of county public health, me included, feel discouraged when
we see people not following the public safety recommendations in response to COVID-19,” Lien said. “We all need to adhere to safe practices, especially in crowded conditions.”

Lien said that wearing masks is less critical when people are enjoying the great outdoors, when people are walking far apart from one another.

The county board, on the recommendation of Lien, passed a resolution
urging county residents and visitors to wear mask/cloth coverings
and practice social distancing when out in the public.

“It’s up to us in county government to educate the public and provide
leadership,” Lien said.

County Commissioner John Lindquist of Dalton said he has seen
inadequate use of masks and social distancing in big box stores.

“This needs to change, for the well being of county residents,” he said.
County Commissioner Doug Huebsch of Perham said that, in small establishments, employees who have the proper social distancing should
not be expected to wear masks all eight hours of a given workday.

“Some people experience glasses fogging up, and for this reason and
other reasons, common sense can and should prevail,” Huebsch said.

Commissioner Betty Murphy of Maine Township agreed with Huebsch.
Proper decision making should be the order of the day, she said, on when to wear masks and when not to wear facial coverings.

“At the same time, it’s the responsibility of county residents to play it safe and for people to follow not only county public health recommendations but also advice from the Centers for Disease Control,” Murphy added.

County Commissioner Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids said that
although social distancing can be tough at times inside stores, “we all
can do a better job of this.”

Otter Tail County, through May 19, had a total of 51 people who had tested positive for COVID-19. These include lab-confirmed cases, according to Lien.