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COVID-19: Protecting ourselves from ourselves

In response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that residents across the United States practice social distancing – and, yes, that includes us here in Minot, too.

Social distancing, in short, means staying away from other people as much as possible, and when you do have to be around others, keep your distance (and stop shaking hands and fist-bumping). This is not a quarantine, and it doesn’t mean you are forced to stay home.

But it is our duty not only to ourselves, but to our families and our neighbors, to take the CDC’s advice seriously. You may be young and healthy, and may be only mildly sickened if you contract this virus. But your elderly neighbor or an older relative or someone with an existing medical condition like asthma or heart disease might be more at risk for serious consequences.

As part of social distancing efforts, the City of Minot closed most of its buildings to the public late this week unless you have a specific appointment, with the exception of Minot International Airport and the Landfill. All City services will continue to operate at this time. If you need to make an appointment to see someone at City Hall, please call 701-418-3011 or contact Tami Stroklund at tami.stroklund@minotnd.org.

City Council and Planning Commission meetings will continue to be held, but we encourage anyone who doesn’t have direct business with the Council or the Commission to watch the meetings online, either on Facebook or YouTube. If you must physically attend a meeting, please use the main doors to enter City Hall.

Why is social distancing important in battling the spread of COVID-19? Because close contact between humans is considered the primary way the virus is spreading, especially when some of those humans are coughing or sneezing in the vicinity of others. This cannot be stressed enough: Now, more than ever, if you’re sick, stay home.

In theory, social distancing sounds relatively simple. In reality, it’s much more complicated because personal habits are difficult to break, and North Dakotans consider themselves a hearty bunch. We’ve probably all gone to work or attended a public event when we were sick and should have stayed home. We can’t do that anymore. Social distancing didn’t use to cross our minds when we headed to the grocery store, to the gym, to the movie theater, or to our favorite restaurant. We didn’t think twice about inviting some friends over for game night or a card game. Now, we must pause before venturing out in public or inviting large numbers of guests into our homes.

With the number of positive tests growing almost daily in North Dakota, it’s well past the time to take the CDC’s social distancing recommendation seriously. If we going to successfully slow the spread of COVID-19 locally and nationally, we must all do our part.

Our local schools and university are closed for a reason – to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many businesses have closed, reduced their hours of operation, or changed their business models – to slow the spread of COVID-19. Most public events have been canceled or postponed – to slow the spread of COVID-19. Health officials have urged students who are out of school not to gather in large numbers at local malls or other locations, since that would defeat the purpose of closing schools in the first place – to slow the spread of COVID-19.

You can still enjoy many of the regular things in your everyday life – just in slightly different ways. You can still support the local restaurant that sponsors your child’s sports team by ordering food online and picking it up at the establishment or having it delivered. The Minot Public Library is closed to on-site patrons, but the library has lots of audio books and videos available to check out online. You can pay many bills online, including your water bill at the City of Minot, and there are also two payment drop boxes in front of City Hall.

Most of us are set up better than ever to spend more time at home until the COVID-19 situation improves. With technology, there’s an endless array of entertainment available at our fingertips. It’s also a great time to catch up on some reading, play games with your family, or spend time outside walking, bike riding or just playing catch with your kids. The point is, it’s easier than ever to stay home, and for many people, to work from home. By the way, while you’re home and online, take a few minutes to complete the 2020 Census; it’s quick and easy.

If there’s ever been a time to practice North Dakota nice, this is it. If everyone does their part in practicing good personal hygiene and participates in social distancing, the chances of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 should rise dramatically – and so will the chance of everyone returning to their normal lives as soon as possible.

Sincerely, City Hall

You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.

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