April 20, 2020
Ask the Chief
Q: Recently the Governor released an updated Executive Order on Outdoor Activities, as a parent of young children, does this mean that the local playground equipment will also be opening up for the children to play on?
A: Thank you for your question. The short answer is NO, playground equipment remains off-limits. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources realize that outdoor activity is an excellent way to stay healthy, reduce stress, and enjoy time with family. The coronavirus remains highly contagious and we need to continue current protective measures to include personal (social) distancing. I can only speak from an enforcement view regarding outdoor activities and have to refer you to the Minnesota Department of Health or CDC websites for more information regarding the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Individuals may engage in outdoor activity that is “dependent upon or derives its principal benefit from natural surroundings and open space, including but not limited to hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, hiking, biking, golfing, and picnicking for the purposes of pleasure, rest, exercise, or relaxation, provided that the activity can be engaged in accordance with the Outdoor Recreation Guidelines, including maintaining at least six feet of separation between participants from different households.
Individuals must not engage in outdoor recreational activities where they will come into close proximity with others from different households.” The following outdoor activities are NOT permitted, “performances, competitions, team events, tournaments, races, rallies, organized sports, spectator events, fairs, or any other events that involve the gathering of individuals in a manner that would preclude social distancing. For example, individuals must not partake, as participants or as spectators, in activities such as marathons, fundraising walks, fishing contests, league sports, and tournaments.”
State of Minnesota Emergency Executive Order #20-20, Directing Minnesotans to Stay at Home does not permit for gatherings of individuals that are not members of your immediate family, residing within the same residence. Remember to maintain the minimum 6 feet distancing, and avoid areas that become too crowded and prevent the required distancing. Violations of the Executive Orders are misdemeanor offenses under Minnesota Statute 14.25 and may be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days. You may report violations to the Minnesota State hotline at 800-657-3504, 651-297-1304 or by calling the RWPD non-emergency number at 651-385-3155. Remind each other of social distancing requirements when you observe a violation and together we will stay healthy!
References and Resources:
1. State of Minnesota Emergency Executive Order #20-38, Allowing Safe Outdoor Activities, located online at: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/lrl/execorders/eoresults…
2. Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Recreational Guidelines, located online at: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/…/covid-19-outdoor-recreation-g…
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