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Winona County Board declares state of local emergency; courthouse to close to public
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Winona County Board declares state of local emergency; courthouse to close to public

The Winona County Board of Commissioners has declared a state of emergency for Winona County in response to COVID-19.

The state of emergency began at 5 p.m. Thursday and will continue until the County Board determines that COVID-19 no longer poses a threat to the public.

The resolution passed by the board Thursday also states that county administrator Kenneth J. Fritz, or a designee, is directed to undertake actions and request assistance to protect lives and public and private property in Winona County.

Fritz is also directed to accomplish the recovery of the county from the impacts of COVID-19 as allowed by law.

A state of emergency also allows for in-person meetings to be conducted by phone or other electronic means.

Methods for the public to engage in the public meetings are still being explored by the board, but eventual means will likely be by phone, with video also being looked at as a possibility.

The County Board also approved for the Winona County Courthouse building to close to the public during the state of emergency.

Like with the state of emergency, the building will remain closed to the public until it is determined that COVID-19 no longer poses a threat.

However, court hearings for high- and super-high priority cases will likely continue.

According to the resolution passed by the County Board, attendance in court hearings will be limited to a select group of people, who will need to be granted authorization to enter the building — which can be achieved by calling court administration.

The resolution states that members of the public needing services and those who have essential business or court hearings in the building need to remain informed on access to the building.

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