Ask the City - COVID-19 FAQs

Updated: May 18, 2021

We all have questions about how COVID-19 will impact our everyday lives - and if you have city-related inquiries about closures, operations, how to get in touch with staff, etc. You can ask them by filling out this form. City staff will answer questions or direct you to the best resource in order to do so, then post responses below. This FAQ page will be continually updated, so be sure to browse the already asked Q&A below. 

Ask the City COVID-19 Graphic

Q: Is City Hall open for in-person business?

Elk River City Hall is open for in-person business. Regular hours are 8:00 - 4:30 p.m. (M-F) and summer hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day) 7:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. (M-Th) and 7:30 - 12:00 p.m. (F).

Q: Where can I find the City of Elk River Covid-19 guidelines or protocols?

The City of Elk River follows MN Department of Health (MDH) guidelines. We don’t recreate those as they change frequently and it is a challenge keep pace. That is why you see the reference to MDH. By law, we are required to have a Pandemic Business Plan to for our city operations for employees. Click here to view our most recent plan, which was approved by council on July 24, 2020. This was required when the most restrictive masking rules went into place.The city's Liquor Operation and the Furniture and Things Community Event Center have similar plans. This operations plan is similar to what the Community Event Center requires of user groups.

Q: What are the occupancy guidelines for city meetings and do you require attendees to sign in?

The Governor’s Executive Order 20-81 (July 22, 2020) provides meeting exemptions for legislative bodies. Even though capacities have increased, we have not held council meetings at the allowed 25% or 50% of the City Hall Council Chambers’ 150-person capacity. The visitors to most council meetings are either city staff or in attendance for an item under consideration. We have not taken ID information for that reason at those meetings.

Q: When is Elk River going to mandate masks in public areas and local stores?

Thus far, the City Council has followed the policy direction of the Governor in regards to a mask mandate. Specific questions/concerns about this topic can be directed to your Elk River ward representative or Mayor Dietz. 

The city is however closely following the guidance of Governor Tim Walz and Executive Order 20-81 which mandates masks effective July 24. For questions regarding the order please direct those to the Office of Governor Tim Walz who has a helpline available via phone at 651-297-1304.

Q: How many current COVID-19 cases are there currently in Sherburne County?

Due to daily updates in numbers of positive cases, please visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s designated COVID-19 webpage for county-specific information on COVID-19 cases.

Q: Are there any COVID-19 testing sites in the area?

Governor Walz recently launched a new website which lists all of the locations throughout the state in which someone can obtain a COVID-19 test. Click here to check it out.

Q: What city facilities are currently closed due to COVID-19 and when will they reopen?

As of January 2021, all city facilities are open to the public, however some have limited services or programs. Please contact the facility directly for full details.

Q: Are playgrounds open?

In accordance with Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-56, playgrounds in the City of Elk River have reopened to the public. The order encourages public outdoor recreational facilities to open for families and children as long as those using them follow the outdoor recreation guidelines including:

  • Practice social distancing of at least six feet between you and anyone outside of your immediate household.
  • Refrain from group play involving more than 10 people.
  • Assume park amenities like play structures, benches, picnic tables, water fountains, etc. have not been sanitized. Wash hands or use sanitizer immediately after use.

Q: Can I have a garage sale?

Under Gov. Walz’s Stay Safe MN plan, as of Wednesday, June 10, garage sales are OK as long as they follow the guidelines below:

  • 25 people or less in outdoor social settings
  • Set up your sale to allow for at least 6 feet of distance between people
  • Encourage those who stop by to wear a mask if possible
  • Don’t touch your face, wash your hands, and sneeze into a tissue/sleeve

For more information on Stay Safe MN guidelines visit: StaySafe.MN.gov. Also, be sure your sign is placed in the correct area of private property according to Elk River City Code. Click here for a graphic on proper sign placement.

Q: Are there resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19?

Yes, Elk River’s Economic Development Authority has a designated web page for small business resources impacted by COVID-19, including an application for a COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Microloan.

Q: When will the Elk River DMV located at 600 Railroad Drive reopen?

According to Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS), federal guidelines allow offices to provide limited driver and motor vehicle services if they choose. Face-to-face transactions weren’t allowed until Monday, May 18, however that doesn’t mean all DVS locations have reopened. Elk River appears to be one not yet open, and while it is up to them we have no information on when they’ll choose to reopen. I suggest continuing to check the DVS locations webpage for updates on this location and other nearby offices.

Q: Are the tennis courts at Elk River High School open?

Yes, the school district has opened the courts again for play. This follows the governor’s office loosening restrictions recently to allow family groups to play in closer quarters. Please observe social distancing when utilizing these types of recreation amenities.

Q: Is Pinewood Golf Course open?

Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-38 now allows for additional safe outdoor recreation activities, including golf.
Book your tee time at Pinewood here.

Q: Are the Elk River Liquor Stores open again?

Northbound and Westbound reopened to customers on Monday, May 18 Mon-Sat 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Online ordering for store pickup and delivery options are available via either store location. Click here to place and order or to learn more.

Q: Will the Elk River Farmers Market still open for the 2021 season in June?

Yes, the Farmers Market will open as planned on June 17, 2021, with similar safety precautions in place as were implemented for the 2020 season. For more Farmers Market information, click here.

Q: Are Elk River parks open?

Yes, all city parks are open and Governor Walz encourages safe outdoor recreation activity while practicing social distancing. All playgrounds are also open once again. For a full list of city parks and the amenities offered at each, click here.

Q: Can I still use the off-leash dog area at Orono Park?

Yes, please practice social distancing.

Q: Are the sport courts (like basketball courts) at city parks still available for use?

Yes. Please observe social distancing guidelines.

Q: Now that the Stay-Home order has expired, is it OK to interact with groups?

Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-56 “Safely Reopening Minnesota’s Economy and Ensuring Safe Non-Work Activities during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency” Section 6c “Activities outside of the home “ states the following:

C. Gatherings. All gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. Gatherings are groups of individuals, who are not members of the same household, congregated together for a common or coordinated social, civic, community, faith-based, leisure, or recreational purpose—even if social distancing can be maintained. This prohibition includes planned and spontaneous gatherings, public and private gatherings, and indoor and outdoor gatherings. Examples of prohibited gatherings include, but are not limited to, social, civic, community, faith-based, or leisure events, sporting or athletic events, performances, concerts, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, and festivals that bring together more than 10 people from more than one household. Prohibited gatherings do not include commercial activity by workers and customers of Critical and Non-Critical Businesses.

Q: How do I submit building permit application, or pay for a permit?

At this time, Elk River’s Building Safety Division continues to provide services via online submittal or through USPS. Permit fees can also be taken care of over the phone, by check via USPS, or by dropping a check off in the secure drop box outside City Hall. More information on these items is available here.

Q: How can I submit land use applications (plats, conditional use permits, etc.) during this time?

Land use applications will be accepted via email, and hard copies can be mailed or dropped off in-person or to the secure drop box outside City Hall (13065 Orono Parkway Elk River, MN 55330).

Q: Can I still apply for and obtain a license if City Hall is not open to the public?

All licensing inquiries can be directed to Jessica Miller, Deputy Clerk via email or in-person at City Hall.

Q: Are emergency operations (police and fire) operating as usual?

Access to both Elk River Fire Department stations closed to the public on Wednesday, March 18. Station tours or general access to the stations by fire staff family/friends is prohibited until further notice.

The Elk River Police Department continues operating as usual, with the public access reopening on Tuesday, May 26. This means ERPD staff will once again be accepting walk-in Permit to Purchase applications and Landowner Permission Slip applications. Residents can continue to submit those items online as well. Details can be found here.

Q: Can I still access the Elk River Compost Site during this time?

Compost Site passes can be obtained for residents who live in Elk River at the Maintenance Facility in-person, by submitting this online form, or by calling 763-635-1120.

Q: How I can protect myself and my family from getting COVID-19?

Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for tips on how to protect yourself, as well as what to do if you feel ill.

Q: Who do I report price gouging to?

Minnesotans can report instances of price gouging by calling 651-296-3353 or 800-657-3787 or online here.