MINNEAPOLIS — The message from Mayor Jacob Frey Friday regarding the "Stay at Home" order as it relates to his city is not open to interpretation.
Residents will comply with the mandate from Governor Tim Walz, or there will be consequences.
"I expect 100 percent compliance from residents and visitors with the Governor's order," Frey told reporters at a news conference. "This directive will be enforced. It will be enforced by our city, and it will be enforced by our community."
Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo are laying out expectations for "Stay at Home," which begins Friday night at 11:59 p.m. and calls for all residents across Minnesota to remain in their residences unless they are buying groceries, getting medication, walking pets or a handful of other exemptions. Congregating in groups in public is forbidden, in the interests of not engaging in community transmission of the coronavirus.
"We will be be first, educating, making them aware, and then we will be using law enforcement efforts," Arradondo explained.
Both the mayor and the chief made it immediately clear while they consider the order of utmost importance in guarding the health of city residents, the Stay at Home mandate will not be used as a weapon to target people of color or immigrant communities. Penalties in the form of citations or fines will be used as a last resort.
"The Stay at Home order will not be a new tool for incarceration, the Stay at Home order will not change the MPD's position about cooperating with federal immigration enforcement," Frey said with conviction. "Let me be clear, we will not cooperate."
Perhaps the biggest challenge officials face involves the well-earned reputation Minneapolis has as a active, fit city. As restrictions surrounding the coronavirus coop residents up and slow life down, and the weather improves, more and more people will be flocking to the great outdoors for exercise. The number one magnet for activity... is the gem of Minneapolis, the city lakes.
"There have been moments too many people have been using them, too many people congregating around them and yes, too many people putting themselves at risk for COVID-19."
Changes are already being put in place to give pedestrians, runners and bikers more room to navigate and honor social distancing. Parts of two city parkways have already been closed down, and Frey says city crews are poised to shut down the parkways around Lakes Nokomis and Harriet.
The police chief and mayor made it clear that while first responders are on the job and serving selflessly, they alone cannot keep residents safe from the coronavirus. Frey said citizens of Minneapolis have an obligation that involves holding each other to a higher standard, one that will save lives and ultimately move the city beyond this pandemic; Stay at Home may be a convenience, but for at least two weeks it is the law of the land.
"This is a mandate, and I expect it to be followed for the sake of our great city," Frey said.
KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11.