The Fairmont City Council adopted a new procedure Monday due to

the COVID-19 pandemic.Mayor Debbie Foster led the meeting in council chambers, joined only by Paul Hoye, city finance director. Phone lines connected city council members, city staff and the city attorney to the meeting.

On the recommendation of Robert Scott, an attorney with Flaherty & Hood, the city’s interim civil counsel, the council voted unanimously to declare a local emergency that will remain in effect until the council rescinds it. The resolution directs city staff to review regulatory requirements and practices to determine if they should be adjusted with regard to emergency regulations to support the employees and city residents with guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health. It also allows city staff to implement processes, such as closing facilities, to ensure that public services are maintained to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. Passage of the resolution is not a legal requirement in order to accomplish the items listed. The measure gives the staff flexibility, but the council will still have the ultimate authority to make final decisions.

Mayor Foster relayed an email she received from Linsey Preuss, Fairmont economic development coordinator, immediately prior to the council meeting. The communication highlighted emergency resources for businesses on the Fairmont Economic Development Authority website,

The state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development is offering interest-free emergency loans that may be 50 percent forgivable for businesses ordered to close their doors because of COVID-19.