The City of Winona supports Minnesota’s new COVID-19 restrictions beginning Friday, November 20, while acknowledging the continued hardship the spread of COVID has caused to local businesses, sports, and residents’ ability to gather.
Gov. Tim Walz and the State of Minnesota have announced a four-week “pause” starting Friday on several activities to try and curb the now-uncontrolled spread of COVID across the state. By any measure — daily cases, infection rate, hospitalizations, deaths — COVID’s presence has never been worse or more widespread in Winona, the county, and the state over the past month.
The actions include a monthlong closure of bars and restaurants, gyms and fitness studios, and movie theaters and other indoor entertainment, and will postpone all youth and adult sports.
“My heart aches for our small business owners struggling to survive, and for our young athletes who have already faced so many challenges and disruptions,” said Mayor Mark Peterson. “This is hard, but it’s also what we need to do to protect our residents, ensure healthcare and emergency services continue to be available for all, and do our part in again slowing the spread.”
Peterson called on residents to go above and beyond to support the businesses that are being asked to close for an extended period of time, for the second time this year.
“The biggest bright spot I can imagine in this dark time is all our residents coming together to support local businesses as much as they’re able,” Peterson said. “I’m making sure to order takeout regularly from my favorite restaurants and am planning to purchase gift cards from small businesses for friends and family, and hope many others do the same.”
The state’s new restrictions start Friday at 11:59pm. They are:
• Indoor/outdoor dining;
• Organized sports — youth and adult;
• Gyms, fitness studios, yoga, martial arts;
• Receptions, celebrations, private parties;
• Indoor entertainment venues (movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc.);
• Any social gathering outside your household.
• Grocery, retail;
• Places of worship;
• Salons, personal care;
• Weddings, funerals (but no receptions);
• Outdoor recreation.
The restrictions will not immediately change city facility plans, though the city will communicate updates as they become available.
• The Winona Public Library continues to provide many of its services virtually or through curbside service and non-contact options. The library opened earlier this month for computer use but the surge has forced it to temporarily suspend those plans. The library does have internet hotspots for residents to check out. Visit the library’s website and Facebook page for programming, activities and updates, or call 507-452-4582.
• The Winona Friendship Center has closed again to public activities, including the wellness center. The center continues to offer in-person appointments with senior advocates, online programming, and services by email, phone and appointment. Call 507-454-5212 for details.
• Bud King Ice Arena will close Friday and remain closed until Dec. 18, pending any changes to the state order. The ice will remain in. The city plans to start the outdoor rink if weather cooperates. If so, the rink will follow outdoor protocols for public use.
• Lake Lodge is currently being utilized as a day shelter for those experiencing homelessness. City staff continue to explore plans for opening safely for winter activities.
• Police and fire departments, working under strict safety protocols, continue to operate normally with no disruptions or changes to service.
• City Hall is closed to walk-in visitors, but all services and departments are functioning normally and are offered either virtually or by setting appointments with department staff. Visit cityofwinona.com or call 507-457-8234 if you’re not sure who to contact.