Carver city councilors voted unanimously on March 23 to extend the period of a mayor-declared local emergency in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extension is in place through the end of April.
Carver City Manager Brent Mareck said it’s a precaution the city is taking, should funding become available later on.
“There isn’t any unique public health situation in the city of Carver,” Mareck said. “It’s to make sure we have our place in line to be eligible for disaster relief funding, should that be eligible for Carver.”
It’s in response to federal, state and local guidelines, Mareck said.
The city initially notified residents and the council that public facilities would be closed until at least March 31. The extension pushes it back a month.
Carver Mayor Courtney Johnson said one of the city’s main goals is to keep services like fire, police and sanitary functioning during this time.
But what comes first, she said, is the people.
“My first priority is to do whatever I can to keep the people of Carver, including city staff, healthy,” Johnson said.
She said two other priorities are supporting Carver businesses and maintaining government transparency.
“We will continue to communicate with the public,” Johnson said.
Mareck said the city is planning for a possible shelter-in-place order from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. Carver has a contingency plan in the works, he said, including a definition of “essential services.”
He said he assumes those services would include water and sanitary work, and hopes it includes building inspections.
“As more information becomes available, we’ll share that with the council and residents,” Mareck said. “But right now, we’re putting kind of a skeleton plan in place.”
Near the end of the council meeting, Johnson said she had one ask: to practice social distancing and don’t congregate.
“It makes me more than just a little bit uncomfortable seeing all these individuals in these groups,” she said.
Johnson noted the importance of getting fresh air and being outside. She encouraged Carver residents to enjoy the outdoors safely. The city has no current plans to close natural open spaces and parks.
“If folks can please, please, please just heed that advice,” Johnson said about social distancing. “It’s not for you. It’s for the folks that are going to continue to get sick.”