The McLeod County Board on April 22 asked Gov. Tim Walz to end his stay-at-home order on May 4, but also asked everyone to remember the lessons they've learned these past months regarding COVID-19.
"You can't just turn a light switch on and off," said Vice Chair Doug Krueger. "The objective is to start the wheels moving."
A unanimous resolution, which was written by Board Member Paul Wright, asks the governor to allow industries and organizations to resume operations through responsible and safe measures after May 4.
"McLeod County expresses its gratitude for the time given to prepare our medical industry for the impact of COVID-19 and educating our citizens to slow the infection rate through social distancing and preventive practices by implementing stay-at-home directives," the order states.
It goes on to say opening industries and allowing them to safely operate will support economic recovery, allow people to return to work and allow businesses to provide services. It states Minnesotans have had time to react and learn safeguards important for daily life, and for the protection of vulnerable people.
"We found our local champions," said Wright.
He cited McLeod County residents who have helped create masks and provide food for neighbors.
"This is the part that needs to go on," he said, adding that social distancing must continue while allowing people to make personal decisions and learn a new normal.
Board Member Ron Shimanski agreed that life should not return to how it was a couple months ago, and that everyone should adapt to the presence of COVID-19 and move forward with it in mind.
"I would caution the public to remember that should we have another recurrence of this pandemic, an emergency break out, we need to be smart about handling this," Board Member Rich Pohlmeier said. "It will take time to figure all this out."
"I want to thank everybody that worked so hard to flatten the curve and everything we've done," Board Chair Joe Nagel said. "This is not ... minimizing what we've done. We're trying to take advantage of what we can do to get the economy started again. But everything that is in place, continue that, and try to find the best of both worlds here."