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March Mania

St. Paul shuts down city facilities with emergency declaration

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter III poses for a photo in his office at St. Paul City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. John Autey / Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL — St. Paul declared a state of emergency Sunday evening, March 15, immediately closing all libraries, parks and recreation centers.

Mayor Melvin Carter made the declaration, saying it was necessary to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The facilities — including the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory — will be closed through March 27.

“We must take bold and immediate action to address the local impacts of this pandemic,” said Carter. “These extraordinary steps are critical to protecting our public health and safety, and are not taken lightly.”

In addition, the city will not issue permits for any gathering of more than 50 people.

Carter asked the Ramsey County Sheriff not to evict anyone from a residence through March 30. Sheriff Bob Fletcher said he received a call from Carter Sunday, and he agreed to not carry out evictions on Monday and Tuesday.

Fletcher said his office has a meeting scheduled with judges Monday about the matter because “technically, the only authority to suspend evictions rests with the court.”

As part of the emergency declaration, water shut-offs have been suspended through April 11. The goal, said Carter, is to “ensure all residents can access water and can follow recommendations from health officials related to washing.”

Additionally, the city declared that emergency workers exposed to the virus will be covered by worker’s compensation. The city of St. Paul will accept the virus-related claims of exposure from workers including police and firefighters.

For emergency responders coming face to face with virus patients, said Carter, “there is no work-from-home option.”

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