COVID crisis hits home, Pelican city hall staff, council takes steps

By Brent Frazier, mayor City of Pelican Rapids 

On July 4, 1776 our Founding Fathers adopted the United States Declaration of Independence. Mentioned in this Declaration are three unalienable rights that consisted of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These unalienable rights have been given to all humans by their creator, and which governments are created to protect.  First and foremost is ‘life.’ 

On this March day of 2020 we all are navigating in uncharted waters.  We are witnessing a circumstance that has no similar pattern in human history. There have been possible similar worldwide events, but not with the progression and reaction that we are witnessing today.

We are now witnessing a worldwide threat to human life due to the Coronavirus or COVID-19. People look for government leadership in times of war, natural disasters and medical emergencies.  

Our community, our county, our nation and the whole world are in this war against COVID-19 at this present moment. At this time, we do not know of a case of COVID-19 in our community, but we as a city government need to be on guard to care for and protect our residents.  Their life is for us to protect when we know of a threat to them.

Most of this protection comes through the education of stressing the importance of social distancing, isolation, and self- quarantine if sick or having been in contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19, and the washing of our hands. Please observe and obey all precautions against this disease that have been recommended by the Center for Disease Control.  They are for your protection.

We have all witnessed the closing of public facilities, schools, medical and dental clinics, restaurants, bars and other businesses. What a financial hardship to business and individuals alike, but first and foremost is for their and our safety against this rapidly spreading disease.

It is of comfort to know that there are many private businesses on the local and national scale that are partnering with the federal government to slow down and defeat the COVID-19.  

Throughout these trying times we need to allow the facts rule over the fear.  It can become a trend to let the tidbits of information we hear turn into anxiety and stress in our lives.  Please allow time to decipher if a statement is true or false information.     

We have heard and seen many federal and state mandates relating to the COVID-19, to which we should all adhere.  Each and every one of them is of utmost importance to you, your health and your life.

On Friday, March 20, 2020 at a Special Council Meeting of the City of Pelican Rapids, the city council adopted a City of Pelican Rapids Proclamation and Declaration of Emergency.  This was a step to be proactive to protect the health, life and finances of the residents of our community due to the threat of COVID-19.  It is a step which has also been taken by many cities in Minnesota as well as Otter Tail County.  Each of these other government entities had their residents in mind, as did the City of Pelican Rapids.

In summary it allows our city government to seek financial assistance and funding when available and if we should need such funding. Although city council meetings will continue to be posted for public observance, we now can meet sooner than the three day posting notice which was required before.   If city hall should close in the future or the city council could not meet as a whole in the future, we could then conduct meetings by electronic means. We can now also circumvent the public bidding process if we should have an emergency spending situation.  

Moving forward on a day to day basis, the city still has bills to pay and decisions to be made as before.  We now have the opportunity, when in an emergency situation and when time is of the essence, to carry out this business in a more rapid manner if need be, all in the best interests and for the protection of our residents.

Please visit the City of Pelican Rapids website at pelicanrapids.com or Google City of Pelican Rapids for daily updates and more information relating to the local efforts to win this war against the COVID-19.

City staff and elected officials are working diligently to get us all through this situation in a smooth and timely manner. We cherish your thoughts and prayers as we move onward to protect you, your family, and your interests. 

This too shall pass and we will become a stronger community and stronger individuals…