City Council Special Meeting


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  City Manager's Report   2.A.       
Meeting Date: 06/29/2020  

Agenda Item:
Discussion and possible action to either set a public hearing date to consider an emergency ordinance, or creation of a campaign supporting and encouraging face coverings within places of public accommodation.
Multiple options for action are provided:
Option A: Set date of hearing for emergency ordinance establishing face covering requirements for individuals in accordance with CDC guidance when in indoor spaces of public accommodation. (This option is recommended to take place July 6, 2020 in order to provide 7 days of public notice and to allow for an effective date on July 7, 2020. Emergency ordinances can be established with a vote of at least five (5) members immediately upon adoption for up to sixty days unless repealed prior in the same manner. Pursuant to section 2.15 of the city charter every emergency ordinance stands to automatically be repealed on the 61st day following the date it is adopted unless otherwise extended by the same process.).
Note: An emergency ordinance may be adopted with or without amendment or rejected at the meeting at which it is introduced. If motion is made and seconded on this option the opportunity for public comment should occur on the established public hearing date.

Option B: Set date of hearing for ordinance establishing face covering requirements for individuals in accordance with CDC guidance when in indoor spaces of public accommodation. (This option is not recommended to take place prior to the regular meeting of July 13, 2020, and would require a plain majority of four (4) members and be enacted after thirty (30) days from the time of its publication. During that time the ordinance is subject to citizen referendum per section 5.06 of the City Charter which could result in injunction, reconsideration, repeal or submittal to municipal electors through special election legislation.  It would also require a sunset date as this type of ordinance would not be necessary outside of a pandemic or similar emergency).

Note: An ordinance may be adopted with or without amendment or rejected, but if amended, it may not be adopted until the ordinance or its amended sections have been subjected to all the procedures required in the case of a newly introduced ordinance. If motion is made and seconded on this option the opportunity for public comment should occur on the established public hearing date.

Option C: Authorize staff to develop a campaign that strongly recommends face coverings be worn in places of indoor public accommodation, including funding not to exceed $50,000 for the purchase and distribution of consistent signage, advertising, and the purchase and distribution of cloth face-coverings or other non-medical grade masks for various places of public accommodation to encourage mask wearing by providing masks at low or no cost in these locations. This is eligible for CARES funding when received. Staff would report back with a more detailed outline on July 13, 2020 and continue to report status at regular intervals beyond that date.

Note: If motion is made and seconded on this option, public comment can be taken tonight. Council and public discussion is limited to this option.
Option D:  Move to adjourn and take no action. 
Note: If motion is made and seconded on this option, public comment can be taken tonight. Council and public discussion is limited to this option.

Main Motion Process/Public Comment:
Council Member makes a clearly worded motion to take action or a position. Motion must be seconded to allow discussion to occur; it does not signify approval. A motion without a second does not move forward. The members discuss/debate on the motion being made. Following debate, the chairperson restates the motion, and then the vote is taken.
The public is invited to watch via the city’s website, or attend electronically. The Council, at its discretion may allow questions or comments; however, if a date of hearing is set for an ordinance, public comments would take place at that time.
The City Council has received numerous requests to discuss options requiring face coverings be worn in places of public accommodation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 related to the current statewide emergency and global pandemic. The Council briefly discussed under Reports of City Council Members on June 8, and under the City Manager’s Report on June 22 whether or not to advance an ordinance for public hearing and formal consideration of the City Council. At the June 8 meeting there was not a desire to advance an ordinance to mandate face coverings. At the June 22 meeting four out of seven councilmembers agreed to advance this topic for special meeting on June 29 to consider whether to call a public hearing on the attached draft ordinance which is based on an existing ordinance in Minneapolis, MN, which became effective May 26, 2020.

That ordinance requires that:
  1. Any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face covering in accordance with CDC guidance when in indoor spaces of public accommodation.
  2. All employers of businesses that are spaces of public accommodation as defined by the (Minneapolis) order shall require their employees to wear a cloth face covering whenever such employees have face-to-face contact with the public.
  3. Defines:
    1. A space of public accommodation means a business, or an educational, refreshment, entertainment, or recreation facility, or an institution of any kind, whether licensed or not, whose goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations are extended, offered, sold, or otherwise made available to the public. Examples include retail stores, rental establishments, government buildings, and service establishments as well as educational institutions, recreational facilities, and service centers.
    2. Cloth face-covering means a covering that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth but is not a Medical-Grade Mask.
    3. Medical-Grade Mask means an N95, KN95, surgical, or other mask that would be appropriate for a healthcare setting, or a setting in which direct patient care is provided.
  4. Clarifies enforcement: A violation of this Emergency Regulation may be enforced by the issuance of warning letter(s), administrative citation to City-licensed businesses, and/or misdemeanor prosecution. Minn. Stat. § 12.45; MCO § 1.30, which defines a misdemeanor which upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
Full CDC Guidelines regarding face coverings can be found here.  Basic information is provided below.
CDC recommends that you wear a cloth mask over your nose and mouth in grocery stores and all other public places where it is hard to stay 6 feet away from others. Read federal guidance for the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • When you wear a cloth mask in public, remember:
  • Masks can help to stop your germs from infecting others. This is extra important if people without symptoms can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
  • Wearing a mask does not protect you from others who may spread the virus. You will still need to wash your hands often, cover your cough, and stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Wearing a mask does not mean people who are sick should be in public places. Stay home if you are sick.
  • If you need to see a doctor, call your clinic first. Do not just go to the clinic. Wear a mask when you do go to the clinic.
  • Do not buy or wear surgical or N95 masks. Health care workers need them so that they are protected when helping sick patients.
  • Do not put facemasks or face covers on children under age 2.
  • Do not put facemasks or face covers on anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or unable to remove the mask without help.

Face Covering Campaign
Another option is to authorize additional support to further encourage safety measures including the use of face coverings, particularly in indoor places of public accommodation. The Council has already authorized funding for a shop safe campaign with GMG and Visit Mankato and authorization to expand that partnership to provide additional emphasis on safety measures including face coverings. This would be a localized version of the Rochester Ready campaign that includes a pledge for businesses and individuals and includes a planned set of performance standards and expectations to ensure every visitor knows which measures are in place to lessen the risk of COVID-19 transmissions. Anticipated partners would grow beyond GMG/Visit Mankato to include health care, other local governments, and county public health. This also allows businesses to sign up to show their support and that they meet specific safety measures so that individuals understand expectations of visitors and commitment of the business/partner. City support could include additional signage and window stickers, assuring a supply of low or no-cost masks for key public places and a commitment to take the pledge.


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