Martin County Commissioners met via conference call in an emergency meeting Thursday morning, to discuss county operations in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The board heard an update from County Emergency Management director Abigail Nesbit. “As far as the the stay-at-home order from the governor, it’s a non-enforceable order, so if people go out to get groceries, pick up medications or go to the doctor, there’s nothing we can do with law enforcement to pull them over, ticket them or anything along those lines,” she said. “This order is in place so that people take this virus seriously. They need to be staying home whenever they can and not going around putting themselves and their community in danger.
County Attorney Terry Viesselman , noted though that there is a Minnesota law that designates violating the order as a misdemeanor. “So they can be ticketed for violating the order,” he said.
Sheriff Jeff Markquart noted the difficulty faced by law enforcement in determining who is in violation of the order.
“We could stop 25 cars after the order is in effect, and at any time of the day they could say, ‘Well, I’m just going to get groceries’ and there’s not a thing we could do about it.”
“Over 80 percent of these things that are essential, it’s crazy. I can tell you that we are not going to be very stringent on stopping people just because of the way this is written.”
The board chose to extend the Martin County Library closure indefinitely,approved an interim policy regarding the Covid-19 program for employees and approved payment of employees impacted by the the Covid shelter in place order from the Governor.