County Manager Column from June 16, 2020

This column was originally published as a "From the County Manager" column on our employee intranet.

Cloth face coverings policy introduced this week

As we continue to adjust to COVID-19 week by week, we expect to continue seeing more public services resuming at our facilities. Last week, I shared the model we’re developing for our five Service Center locations that we’ll be opening next month. Through our established Service Delivery Design process (see documents from March to the present), departments have been providing plans to reintroduce services where safe and possible using modifications that follow public health guidelines. Examples range from limiting cart use and using pre-payment to play our golf courses, to re-designing the property service counter at our Plato Building with one-way traffic flow, floor stickers for social distancing and plastic dividers between staff and visitors.   

This week we take another step to promote the safety of residents and employees by adopting a policy for using cloth face coverings while performing work on behalf of the county. The new policy applies to most employees, contractors, interns, volunteers and others (those working at congregate facilities will continue different protocols) and will continue to apply throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning next week, we’ll begin countywide distribution of two reusable masks to each employee by work location. More details about how these will be distributed are available on the COVID-19 Cloth Mask Policy page on RamseyNet.

Visitors or residents are encouraged to wear face coverings but are not required to do so unless and until masks can be provided at particular locations. We will not turn people away if they don’t have a mask.

Use of masks is one of several strategies to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but it is not a substitute for the public health guidance we have been following and sharing for many months: washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home if sick and social distancing. Last week, our Medical Director, Dr. Lynn Ogawa provided guidance on the use of masks and the correct way to wear and care for them in a video.

Watch the video

Conversation about masks has been everywhere over the past weeks and months, but most important to remember – as the World Health Organization reinforced in new guidance just days ago – is that wearing a face covering or mask helps protect those around you from contracting COVID-19. As with the many challenges we’ve faced and overcome during this pandemic, I thank you again today for your flexibility and commitment to supporting the health and safety of our community and one another by supporting this new policy.