With Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order requiring Minnesotans to wear face coverings in certain settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, many community members are looking for masks. Thanks to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the department is offering masks for businesses and select chambers of commerce across the state. DEED will be supplying 4 million masks for the business community to distribute.

The Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce has invited businesses in the county to register for masks  for their employees and customers at their curbside pickup event Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We’re geared up to help our businesses however we can,” Lisa Workman, President of the Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce said. “Our goal is to make sure our local businesses have what they need to keep their ‘doors open’ and their employees and customers as safe as possible.”

The masks are the paper, disposable variety that fit most adults and are free of charge. Preregistration is required and supplies are limited. This will be a one-time distribution from the state.

Registration for both chamber members and non-member businesses  are available on the chamber’s website: http://www.fergusfalls.com/events/details/masks-for-businesses-curbside-pickup-57778.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce has been working with members and other businesses in applying for grants and other funding options., hosting webinars for remote workers and holding Q&A sessioins on the Paycheck Protection Program.

““We’re working as hard as everyone in the community has been on keeping our businesses going. In addition to dozens of individual consultations with businesses, the Chamber injected $50,000 Fergus Bucks into our small businesses in May and we tracked $755,000 of local spending during “Shop, Drop, Eat ‘n Win. Our businesses are grateful for the support and dedication they’ve seen from residents who’ve really taken the ‘shop local’ message to heart,” Workman said.

Workman also mentioned that additional personal protective equipment such as gloves and hand sanitizer can be purchased from Otter Tail County’s online PPE Store (ottertaillakescountry.com/product-category/ppe/).

In addition to the curbside pickup event, other area locations are providing masks. Locations include:

• Perham – Chamber of Commerce, rebecca@perhamcc.com, 218-346-7710

• Battle Lake – City Hall, blcity@arvig.net, 218-864-0424

• New York Mills – City Hall, cityclerk@cityofnewyorkmills.org, 218-385-2213

• Ottertail – City Hall, clerkotcity@arvig.net, 218-367-2250

• Vergas – City Hall, jlammers@cityofvergas.com, 218-342-2091

• Henning – City Hall, henngov@arvig.net, 218-583-2402

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