The Fergus Falls City Council passed a resolution adopting a COVID-19 preparedness plan and clarified a request by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Tuesday in a special noon hour meeting at City Hall.

Fergus Falls Human Resources director Mike Hartwell took the floor to introduce the COVID-19 preparedness plan.

“What a difference a year makes,” Hartwell remarked as he addressed the council. “Today I am here to talk about COVID-19 and a year ago we didn’t know what this even was.”

Hartwell briefly explained the main points of the city’s plan for dealing with the coronavirus as he paged through the document highlighting:

• Identifying the purpose of the plan.

• Screening and policies for employees exhibiting signs and symptoms of    COVID-19.

• Hand washing.

• Respiratory etiquette.

• Social distancing.

• Cleaning, disinfection and ventilation.

• Communications and training.

“We’ve done a lot of creative thinking on how we can socially distance our employees and yet still meet the needs of our residents and city business,” Hartwell said.

The plan follows not only the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, it also follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and Executive Order 20-48, issued by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.

It is pointed out that all employees are responsible for implementing and complying with the plan.

City employees will all see the plan June 24.

“It will be available for the public to see up on our website,” Hartwell said.

Councilmember Anthony Hicks made it a point to suggest a change to relation to the cleaning, disinfection and ventilation section of the plan.

“I just wonder if we should change specific brand names from Clorox bleach to just bleach and Spartan Hard and Lysol – those are kind of commercial names and if we are not able to always buy Lysol and Clorox maybe we should just be more generic about the naming,” Hicks said.

Mayor Ben Schierer said he thought Hicks’ suggestion was a good one and that he did not see any issues with it.

Hartwell said that the plan needed the certification of both the City Council and city administrator Andrew Bremseth in order to “do business” going forward.

City engineer Brian Yavarow asked for the clarification of the bike plan the city council approved at their May 15 meeting. At the end of the meeting a request was made to extend bike lanes that were already vetted on Union Avenue from Junius Avenue to Stanton Avenue an additional block to Lincoln Avenue.

Yavarow told the council he was not opposed to the request by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee but provided five reasons why lanes from Stanton to Lincoln were not incorporated into the most recent design layout, which is still preliminary.

In his request for clarification, Yavarow said he felt “a more thorough review needs to be completed for public safety reasons.”

After Tuesday’s meeting, Yavarow said: “We’ll let the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee work it out and start the demonstration project.”

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