The Osakis City Council approved the temporary provisions of a mask mandate at its regular meeting on Monday night.

In public places, all people must wear a face cover over their mouth and nose while staying six feet apart from other people. This approval follows Minnesota’s mask mandate from Gov. Tim Walz as of July 25. There are exceptions for people with medical conditions.

Council member Justin Dahlheimer stressed the importance of setting the example for people in Osakis regardless of their opinions on the mandate.

“All departments should be adhering to this,” Dahlheimer said. “If we get questions from people in the community that don’t see departments attempting to adhere, it gets complicated. Some of us aren’t excited about the executive orders that our governor has made, but we are supposed to be the best examples for our communities. We shouldn’t have to continually come back and wonder why people aren’t wearing masks.”

Angela Jacobson, the city clerk, also added information about what city employees should do if they’re sick. If an employee is ill and it’s not COVID-19, they get three days before they come back to work. Employees can be excused further with a doctor’s approval.

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Planning and zoning

Another topic of conversation was the planning and zoning discussion around the Idlewilde Resort operations. The sunset clause states that the development agreement ends in 2022, and Viking Bank is working with the last two units available for sale. Dahlheimer noted that these properties are being observed by people who want to rent the properties on a monthly basis, but the sunset clause prohibits them from doing so.

Dahlheimer said that the Planning and Zoning Committee is open to seeing the sunset clause removed. The present Homeowners Association would provide tools to prevent “unsavory” actions by the homeowner. The council’s role would be to manage the transition, which includes parking, sewer and water. That would also mean the development agreement is amended.

Much of the discussion was about implementing a timeline for these actions to take place. Dahlheimer said it could be a liberal timeline with room for more challenging steps to take place, but there needs to be an independent third party to sign off and oversee the transactions.

New property owners joined the Zoom meeting on Monday night to express their desire to see the sunset clause removed. One owner said they would’ve been more hesitant about purchasing the property if they were aware of the renting limitations. Look for a full story on the sunset clause implications in next week’s Echo Press.

Other items

  • The Osakis Liquor store had a great month as they brought in over $28,000 in sales, which doesn’t include pull tabs. A full revenue report, including gambling income, will come at next month’s meeting. The Liquor Store is still looking to hire one more employee, which would make it fully staffed.

  • The Osakis Police Department reported an increase in calls in July. There were 316 calls, 13 citations and three arrests. In June, the police received 29% fewer calls than 2019 before a 23% increase in July. The Osakis Fire Department is also up in calls. With eight calls in July, firefighters used 1,250 gallons of water. At the end of the month, the fire department received 52 calls, one more than they received at that point in 2019.