On March 16, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz ordered high-traffic areas like restaurants, fitness centers and breweries to close in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Minnesota.

With the internet, though, many services are still available to those who are staying home and practicing social distancing. Here’s some of what you can access in the southwest metro.

Hennepin County Library

Hennepin County Board Chair Marion Greene declared a state of emergency in Hennepin County on March 16, and Hennepin County Library closed its public-facing services on March 17, but its online resources are available to patrons, according to a news release from the library.

The county’s 41 libraries, human service centers, and licensing service centers are closed at least through through April 6, the release says. The library has begun planning how it can provide services without in-person contact.

“We have not taken this decision lightly and understand the hardship this creates for our customers, clients and residents,” the release says.

Government services continue to function, but in a very different way in these times, the county said.

“We know that these are extremely challenging times for residents of Hennepin County,” Greene said in the release. “We are committed to leading with compassion and understanding. Our commitment to serving all residents and delivering services for those who need them most has never been stronger. We will use these days ahead to ensure that we’re finding solutions to protect the health and safety of our residents and staff.”

Cardholders can still borrow ebooks and downloadable audiobooks online, or listen to music on MNspin, a database of local music.

Spirit of the Lake yoga

Before Gov. Tim Walz’s order that all bars, restaurants and fitness centers must close, Nicole Lovald, the owner of Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center in Excelsior, took steps to more thoroughly clean the studio and limited class sizes to nine people out of precautions.

The studio also began offering virtual classes the week of March 16, giving students the opportunity to practice yoga at home using Zoom instead of in the studio while still connecting with the teacher.

“You can still see each other, you can have dialogue back and forth with the teacher — it’s not just an online course that we send, like a YouTube, it’s actual interaction,” Lovald said on March 13. “I think finding ways to still interact with people during isolation is going to be key.”

Spirit of the Lake is offering virtual classes throughout the week and frequently updating the schedule, with the hope of offering more “in the near future,” according to a March 16 update on the website. But it has canceled all in-person yoga classes and wellness sessions until further notice.

“As you can imagine, this will be a hardship for our teachers and practitioners. I know many of you may be experiencing similar financial hardships and our hearts go out to you. For those of you who have the resources to continue to support us (financially or otherwise) during this time, we ask that you do that so we may be able to reopen our doors in the near future and provide relief to our staff, as needed,” the update said.

Life Time

Life Time’s facilities across the U.S. and Canada − including in Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Minnetonka, Plymouth and Savage − closed on March 16, the company said in a news release.

“At Life Time, health is our top priority,” the company wrote. “Members will be credited for the number of days the club is closed, and team members will be compensated.”

The company is looking into how its facilities could be repurposed for resource or service centers, it wrote.

Eden Teller is the multimedia reporter for Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about fostering productive conversations and empowering communities. When she's not reporting, she can be found reading a book, on a hike or tackling home improvement projects.

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