A Guest Editorial: Allow businesses to open as soon as possible
Editor’s note: The Alexandria City Council sent the following letter to Gov. Tim Walz last week requesting that local businesses be allowed to reopen as soon as possible.
Dear Governor Walz:
On behalf of the City of Alexandria, thank you for your leadership and all you have done to protect the health and well-being of the residents of the State of Minnesota during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alexandria has taken the pandemic impacts seriously, closing our facilities to the public and cancelling many programs and events. City staff have worked diligently with citizens to understand and comply with the various Executive Orders. It has been at times challenging, but the goal has been to educate citizens on understanding the importance of making safe decisions during the pandemic.
Alexandria prides itself on its collaborative spirit, and residents, businesses, the medical community and government have risen to the challenge in support of each other. They have been creative, kind, and generous in their efforts during this difficult and uncertain time.
Our business community is experiencing considerable hardships and, for many, their future remains uncertain. Some businesses are being unfairly advantaged as a result of the changing nature of the Executive Orders. The City of Alexandria is often the point of contact with our business community when a complaint or concern is received. No individual or business has been immune from the impacts of COVID-19, and they are contacting us asking for action in opening up businesses in our community.
To further reduce the negative economic impact and the tremendous burden on state and local budgets, as well as improve the mental well-being of residents, we respectfully request that businesses, under self-imposed regulation, be allowed to open as soon as possible. Using the framework and protocols developed under your leadership, we are confident businesses can open safely and put the health of their employees, customers, and community at the forefront of their operations.
We also would invite you to participate in a conversation with the Alexandria City Council regarding the pandemic. As members of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, we appreciate your recognition of the important role the CGMC plays in communicating the needs of Greater Minnesota to your administration. As someone from Greater Minnesota yourself, we know you understand the unique needs and challenges we face in dealing with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
In your most recent conference call with the CGMC, you invited cities to call you for a conversation. We would appreciate nothing more than to take you up on this offer. Alexandria was recently named by Minnesota Monthly as “Best Minnesota Town” for 2020. The sense of community that helped earn that honor could also be an example for how to safely reopen businesses.
On behalf of the Alexandria community, we appreciate your consideration of this request. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sara Carlson Mayor
Council members Bill Franzen, Ro ger Thalman, Bobbie Osterberg, Dave Benson, Todd Jensen