Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn told the County Board of Commissioners today some people are apparently losing their ability to stay home.  Dunn said when the Governor's stay in place order began things went well but last weekend there were more people congregating across the county.

Dunn said his department received more calls over the weekend of people congregating at public sites.  He pointed out an incident at Nerstrand State Park Sunday where there were, "vehicles were lined up for about six blocks onto the county road blocking the roadway for people trying to get into the park.  The park is open for the community to use but the park staff is not there so we got called and dealt with the stuff on the road."

The Rice County Sheriff says he spoke with the Park Ranger and they might have to reassess what they are doing because people want to use the park but Dunn added, "they kind of broke the social distancing rules with so many people there."

Dunn says his department has had to talk to a couple of businesses about serving alcohol which is not allowed under the Governor's order.  "Letting people come in or sit on their deck and having cocktails while they are waiting for their to go orders.  I had a conversation with one who has two strikes now and I said if we get called there again there will be a citation and we really don't want to have to do that."

The jail population is down 50% due to releasing prisoners on work release and misdemeanor charges.  They will return to jail once the social distancing is lifted because of the congregate setting a jail provides.

Dunn reported to Commissioners they are also affected by a shortage of personal protection equipment.  "We're trying to limit when we are using ours.  All deputies and corrections staff have the glasses, masks and gloves.  One compounding thing with the PPE's is we are required when we go into any of the hospitals to wear gloves, glasses and masks but they don't provide them which is unfortunate.  We are working with our state and federal partners trying to get more here."

Commissioners requested COVID-19 updates from the Sheriff, Public Health and Social Services Departments.

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