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home : columns : rahn larson
July 6, 2020

5/20/2020 11:06:00 AM
Our state is open, sort of
We heard it late last week, from Gov. Tim Walz - Minnesota is reopening, sort of.
In Windom, that means people can now wander inside downtown stores such as Enspired, First Floral Hallmark and Wolf Message Therapy, Tanning and Gift Center. However, Walz said that is not the case for salons, gyms, bars and restaurants.
It has been a long wait for the former group - too long. It was a case where a one-size-fits-all policy did not work.
In the name of limiting personal contact, the state shut down local stores that rarely see more than a dozen people at one time. Those folks who would have ambled quietly into and out of small stores in Windom, Mt. Lake, Jackson and Westbrook - brushing up against virtually no one - were basically funneled into the big box stores that the state left open.
Predictably, parking lots at Home Depot and Wal-Mart were jam-packed. The state's leaders should have seen this coming.
As for the latter group, two weeks are huge. It feels like Walz missed a chance to compromise. Perhaps he could have allowed a customer limit for all of them.
Some states opened ahead of us. Let's use it to our advantage. Find what works and implement it in Minnesota. For instance, it makes sense to at least open outdoor tables at restaurants, as they do in New Hampshire.
The governor faces the task of protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19 while preserving businesses. Lives and livelihoods are at stake.
My belief is that if he shows faith in Minnesota businesses and customers, he'll be pleased. Meanwhile, our job, as Minnesotans is to be smart and act like we truly care about the vulnerable.
Recorder's office changes
There are times when the sheer volume of change seems mind-boggling.
It seems virtually every office in town is revamping how they serve the people. Last week, I received this note from County Recorder Kathy Kretsch, who gives the public high quality service in a Courthouse space that is far too small for her department:
"In addition to recording, we provide many services to the public at the Recorder's office, most notably driver's license.
"In the past week I have been researching and setting up an online appointment-making system called 'No Wait Inside.' My hope is to make this new way of doing business more efficient for us and easy for our customers.
"I have no idea how long this situation will last and it remains to be seen if it will return in the fall. I need to be prepared for the long haul."

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