By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — While still maintaining other portions of the COVID-19 response plan, the Elk Mound Village Board has approved limited use of the library and the community center.
The village should maintain the COVID-19 response plan during the two-to-four-to-six week incubation phase following the state Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the “Safer at Home” order, said Elk Mound Police Chief Chad Weinberger at the Elk Mound Village Board’s June 1 meeting.
The Elk Mound Village Board met virtually using the Zoom online platform.
The state Supreme Court overturned the “Safer at Home” order from the state Department of Health Services secretary designee Andrea Palm on May 13. The Safer at Home order was set to expire May 26.
The police chief also suggested checking with the village’s liability insurance company to find out whether the village’s insurance would provide coverage in the event there was a spike in COVID-19 cases associated with an activity in the village.
The county’s buildings, including the judicial center, are closed, and people are allowed inside by appointment only, and with restrictions, Police Chief Weinberger said, noting that when he had gone to the judicial center to obtain a search warrant, he was required to wear a mask when he went into the building.
Elk Mound’s COVID-19 response plan closed the municipal building, requires delivery drivers to leave packages at the door and asks village residents to make payments by dropping them in the slot at the village hall.
Under the Safer at Home order, all libraries in the state were closed, and since the village’s community center is in the same building as the Elk Mound library, the village’s COVID-19 response plan limited users of the community center to no more than nine attendees, and if that was not possible, asked that the event be canceled.
Elk Mound’s COVID-19 response plan also required all non-essential public works tasks that do not allow social distancing to cease for the duration that the plan is in effect.
Steven Abraham, village president, said he wanted activities in the village to return to “as close to normal” as soon as possible.
The village hall should remain closed to stay in line with the county buildings being closed, said Terry Stamm, village trustee.
According to an announcement from county administrative officials on May 29, Dunn County’s buildings will remain closed through the end of June.
The Menomonie Public Library has opened with restrictions, and Pat Hahn, village clerk-treasurer, said she had received a telephone call from the Menomonie library asking if the Elk Mound library also planned to open.
The Elk Mound library is a branch of the Menomonie Public Library.
Restrictions would have to be in place for the Elk Mound library to open, such as limiting the number of people in the building, requiring a mask and sanitizing, said Mark Levra, director of public works.
Levra also wondered about allowing previously scheduled activities to resume in the community center, such as karate lessons.
Public works employees would have to sanitize the community center between uses because the village would be facing liability if someone were to contract COVID-19, he said.
With businesses opening up and people resuming other activities, it would be difficult for someone to say where they had contracted COVID-19, Stamm said.
On the other hand, restrictions must be in place, and violations of the restrictions should be monitored, he said.
Levra said the other two public works employees had returned to work and that he had assigned one to work from the village shop and one to work from the park for the remainder of the week.
When all of the public works employees are working out of the shop, they must maintain social distancing or wear a mask, he said.
The village’s parks are open to foot traffic, but the playground equipment is off limits, no restrooms are available, and no gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed, Levra said.
The COVID-19 virus stays viable on plastic, such as on plastic playground equipment, which is a “sanitizing nightmare,” he said.
Cynthia Abraham, village trustee, asked about Menomonie opening restrooms in the city’s parks.
Menomonie has opened a restroom at Wakanda Park because of the boat landing and at Wilson Park because of the farmers’ market, Levra said.
The Dunn County Health Department says restrooms at parks must be sanitized six times per day, he said.
Levra suggested only five people be allowed in the community center for karate and said he would contact the instructor to find out the size of the groups.
Police Chief Weinberger asked what enforcement action would be available if people are not complying with the rules.
People should be responsible enough to follow the rules, Stamm said, adding the use of the community center should be limited to the three activities that have prior permission, at least until the next village board meeting.
If people are found to be in violation of the criteria that has been set, then they may lose the use of the facility, Abraham said.
The use of masks should be encouraged but not required, although the library will have its own rules, he said.
The village hall should remain closed, the parks are open to foot traffic with no use of the playground equipment and no restrooms, and the library should be open with a limited number of people allowed inside, with social distancing and frequent sanitizing, Stamm summarized.
The Elk Mound Village Board unanimously approved continuing with the COVID-19 response plan with the exception of the library and community center, which will be operating with restrictions, and with the use of the community center limited to the three current activities until the next village board meeting June 15.
In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board:
• Approved not renting the village park for events until the end of June and allowing people who have rented the park to receive a refund on the rental fee or to reschedule the event. The policy on park rental will be be reviewed at the July 6 meeting.
• Approved a cigarette and tobacco products retail license for Cenergy LLC Elk Mound Travel Stop No. 3773.
• Approved for consumption off premises a Class “A” retailers fermented malt beverage license, a “Class A” intoxicating liquor license and a “Class A” intoxicating liquor license “cider only” for Cenergy LLC Elk Mound Travel Stop No. 3773.
• Approved a Class “B” fermented malt beverage retailer’s license and a reserve “Class B” liquor license for The Pourhouse, Milovino Enterprises LLC.
• Approved a Class “B” fermented malt beverage and a retail “Class C” win license for The Junction.
• Approved bartender operator’s licenses for Kathleen Degre, Erin Whyte, Kayla Farrell, Desiree Thompson and Timothy Heit (The Pourhouse).
• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Emma Brunstrom (Elk Mound Travel Stop).