Brainerd police will not enforce two-hour downtown parking restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

City council members made the decision during an emergency meeting Thursday, March 26. Mayor Ed Menk said there are many residents downtown who are now unemployed and worried about the parking restrictions, which limit on-street parking and city lots to two hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekdays. As many downtown businesses are closed now and do not need the parking, Menk asked the council to consider lifting the restrictions for the duration of the pandemic.

Police Chief Corky McQuiston said he approved of the council’s action because he will likely not have the staff to enforce the parking restrictions right now, as officer schedules will change to help prevent them from getting sick.

Downtown residents are encouraged to park in city lots as opposed to on the street to leave room for emergency vehicle traffic.

The council will revisit the issue during its meeting May 4.

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