Brainerd city offices closed to the public Monday, Nov. 16, until further notice.

City officials followed Crow Wing County’s lead, closing government buildings due to the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community.

Fourteen city employees have had to quarantine within the last two weeks after exposure to the virus, City Administrator Jennifer Bergman told the council during their meeting Monday. With buildings closed, city employees will return to their work-from-home model implemented earlier this year, in which those who are able to work remotely will do so for the time being.

“The reason is to protect our staff for sure, but also we’re just starting to get a little concerned about coverage,” Bergman said, noting there are staff members who do not have symptoms or have not tested positive but need to quarantine because a family member or close contact has tested positive.

“This ensures that we continue to have the city fully operating,” she added.

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Council President Gabe Johnson said this is the right call to make.

“It’s running pretty rampant all around Minnesota and the upper Midwest,” he said. “In March we sent everybody home out of an abundance of caution. This time we’re sending people home because there’s real risk out in the community, and it’s the right thing to do.”

The city will continue to operate and provide services via phone, email and mail. Payment drop boxes are located outside city hall by the parking lot on the east side and in the entryway of the police department. For further questions, call 218-828-2307 or visit the city’s website at ci.brainerd.mn.us.

At the close of the meeting during council member reports, Dave Pritschet reminded the community: “Stay patient, stay kind, and we’ll get through this.”



THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.