Mayor Jake Spano declares state of local emergency 

City Council holds COVID-19 briefing


Maggie Klaers

Art by Maggie Klaers. According to St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano, the city is declaring a local state of emergency.

Noah Orloff

This story is updated as of 10:30 p.m. March 16.

After speaking about the city’s plans during a City Council COVID-19 briefing March 16, St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano declared a state of local emergency.

“In order to make sure our city staff have the opportunity to move quickly when they need to, it was recommended and agreed by the council that we should prepare a proclamation and resolution that declares a state of local emergency in St. Louis Park,” Spano said during the City Council meeting.

This local emergency will allow St. Louis Park to make urgent decisions, according to City Attorney Soren Mattick.

“There are certain rules and regulations for how governments can enter into contracts,” Mattick said during the briefing. “What this is, is a recognition that, because of the nature of the emergency, we may not be able to follow the letter of the law in all of those items. It is not an excuse to ignore those things, but there are times where speed demands that we just enter into certain contracts.”

During the briefing, St. Louis Park Fire Department Fire Chief Steve Koering said the declaration establishes St. Louis Park’s role in following the previous emergency declarations that have been made by Governor Tim Walz and President Donald Trump

“It basically creates an opening for our community to be part of this emergency at the county and state level,” Koering said during the briefing. “As a community, that is recognizing this as a problem. When we go out and look for resources if we become part of discussions through our logistics and planning section, we are basically validated as a community who’s in need because of this declaration.”

Council member Anne Mavity said St. Louis Park’s disaster plan will go into effect as a part of the local emergency. Koering said the emergency operations plan is not currently open to the public. 

“This declaration of a local emergency will invoke the city’s disaster plan, which the city has been working on for decades and updating regularly, including recently,” Mavity said during the City Council meeting.

Spano addressed the abundance of false information in circulation regarding COVID-19. 

“This is a very dynamic situation and I would suggest to the public, be careful about what you share on social media around this,” Spano said during the briefing.  

Spano said he urges the community members to take part in acts of kindness. 

“This is a time for more patience than less, it is a time for more tolerance than less, it is a time for more kindness than less,” Spano said during the briefing. “This is a super stressful time for every single person in our community.”