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Boreal Emergency Preparedness Portal

Cook County COVID-19 Information - Closures and Cancellations

Mar 16, 2020 02:18PM ● By Editor

From Boreal Community Media - March 16, 2020

Here is a partial list of the closures, cancellations and other information in Cook County that have been impacted by the national emergency that is COVID-19.  If your organization or business has changed its schedules, hours or cancelled events - email the notices to [email protected] and they will be posted here.

Seeking Grocery Store Worker Volunteers
If you have time to help out at one of our grocery stores, please go to the County Coronavirus Response Hub and scroll down to the volunteer section. It takes some time to sign up with Minnesota Responds, but your help will be greatly appreciated.  Only about 2/3 of the volunteer slots are getting filled, so if you can lend a hand, it would be a great service to many in the community.

Cook County Coronavirus Response Hub:

Minnesota Responds sign-up:

MN Responds sign-up guide:

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll get an email from Andrea Orest, the local organizer for grocery volunteers.  It’s actually nice to get out for a while.

Cook County Arts Festivals
Grand Marais Art Colony has cancelled its Arts Festival in Grand Marais for 2020.  The Hovland Arts Festival is also cancelled - the event is normally held over the 4th of July weekend.

National Forest and Parks Closures
The U.S. Forest Service has closed all recreational facilities at the Chippewa and Superior National Forests with no overnight camping or campfires permitted.  Parks Canada has closed all National Parks and historic sites until May 31 for camping and group activities.

Joynes Department Store

Joynes Department Store/Ben Franklin is resuming curbside pick up service effective April 20. The most effective way to contact us is by calling the store at 387-2233. If the lines are busy please leave a message with your name and phone number and we will return your call in the order received. Please note: Our email and Facebook messages will only be reviewed twice a day. We thank you for your patience and business.  

Safe Routes to School Cancellations

Spring is here, which means everyone is starting to get more active outside, while practicing social distancing and abiding by the Stay at Home order by the Governor of Minnesota. Due to the Stay at Home order and the COVID-19 situation, the Safe Routes to School Committee has decided to cancel the Annual Bike Safety Rodeo held in May.  It is our hope that we will be able to reschedule the community event later in the year, depending on how the community continues to respond to COVID-19.

 The Committee has also made the decision to cancel in-school bike education for ISD 166 and Great Expectation’s School, due the uncertain nature of school kids’ ability to return to the school campuses this year. We are saddened by the decision, but the safety of our community is our highest priority.   Cook County Safe Routes to School (SRTS) strives to improve the health of kids and our community by making walking and bicycling to school safer, easier, and more enjoyable. For more information about Safe Routes to School, contact SRTS Coordinator, Andrea Orest, at 218-264-0486 or [email protected]. This work is supported by the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership/Minnesota Department of Health through Healthy Northland.

Ruby's Pantry
Ruby’s will be OUTSIDE the Community Center on Tuesday April 14 ( weather permitting) we are asking for teens or college age to come and help us - we want you to wear a mask and we have gloves for you - you will be 6 feet away from each other -  People getting shares will drive down Creechville road (by the Little League field ) and drive to area where food will be brought to your car  in  a container but then placed into your container or cooler in your truck!  You will pass by an area where you will throw your $20.00 cash or certificate into a bag! 

Cook County Recycling Center

Beginning Monday, April 20, the Cook County Recycling Center will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

It is important that the recyclable materials being brought in are clean and sorted into their appropriate categories, Nelson stated. This will minimize staff ‘s direct contact with potential COVID-19 contaminants. 

Cook County Food Shelf
The Cook County Food Shelf  is open EVERY MONDAY 3-5 pm
and the FIRST Wednesday of every month 5-7 pm
We are practicing Social Distancing ....6 feet apart.You will fill out a brief "intake" form outside the lower level doors or in your car, Allowing only one member per household, you will be asked to come in to register, get a bag or box of food and receive a voucher to buy other food at a local food store. You should be in and out as quick as possible.. Deliveries can be arranged
THIS WEEK ONLY !!!! The Food Shelf will be OPEN THURSDAY April 9th 2-4pm
Information contact Gwen @ 387-9860 Food Shelf 3rd Ave West & 2nd street

Volunteering to Help Grocery Shopping - from Sawtooth Mountain Clinic  
Would you like to help your friends and neighbors with their grocery shopping?
Step 1: Visit this page at the SMC website and have the instructions listed there handy. You'll need them for Step 2.

Step 2: Go to  to sign up. The website can be difficult to navigate. That's why you might need the tips from Step One!

Step 3: You'll get 2 emails - one to confirm your registration and one with a link to choose your store/time/job.

Step 4: Choose when and when you want to work.  Thank you for pitching in!

Cook County Public Health
With the increasing spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota, Cook County Public Health and Human Services is committed to working with its partners in healthcare and emergency management to get residents accurate, up-to date information on how to take care of yourself, your family, and our shared community.  More information can be found by following this link.

Arrowhead Electric Cooperative

Effectively immediately, Arrowhead Electric Cooperative will be closed to the public.  In an abundance of caution, Arrowhead Cooperative has closed its doors to the public. We will not allow access from the general public, vendors or unauthorized personnel to enter the building. We have posted a sign on the entry, sent a press release to the local paper, Boreal Community, our website and social media platforms.  For more information, follow this link.

Cook County Schools:
School will be closed Wednesday, March 18 –and 19 with Spring break next week;   This is the current plan, but is subject to change.   Our staff will be working and planning for education if the closure continues.

Grand Marais Public Library:
In alignment with the closure of Minnesota’s K–12 schools, Grand Marais Public Library will be closed Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 27. Details about the continuation of services, what to do with borrowed books, and how to access digital magazines, books and audiobooks will be provided at

1st and 2nd Thrift Store
The Donation Center that is part of 1st and 2nd Thrift Store is closed until further notice.  Please do not leave anything at the door. The weather will ruin your donations if they are left outside, so please keep them at home until we open again.

North Shore Health and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic: New Entrance and Screening Procedures
Effectively immediately, patients will be directed to only enter the health care facilities through the main entrances of Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, North Shore Health and the Emergency Room.  Upon arrival, patients will be greeted by staff members who will ask questions about recent health history and any symptoms of respiratory illness, recent travel activity and will be taking patient temperatures before entry is granted to the facility.  For more information, follow this link.

North House Folk School
North House is pausing all coursework from March 19 through April 12 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect our students, instructors, staff, and neighbors. If you are registered for a course during this time frame, you should have received an email regarding your refund options. If you didn’t, please email us at [email protected] or call us at 218-387-9762.
North House will remain open during regular business hours to handle course registrations and respond to student questions via phone and email. Additionally, classes outside this period are still open for registration and our online school store remains open as well.

Cook County Higher Education
To do our part to “flatten the curve,” Cook County Higher Education is cancelling our scheduled classes and workshops through April 19, 2020. We hope to reschedule these classes later this spring and/or hold some of them on-line. We will contact registered students on Monday and refund your class fees. Please check our website and Facebook page for updates.  Follow this link to the CCHE Facebook page.

Joyne's Department Store
For the safety of our employees, customers, and community, we have closed our doors to weather the COVID-19 storm. We will remain closed until the storm passes. Updates will be posted on Facebook and Boreal email.  We remain committed to serving you. Although our doors are closed, please reach out to us for items you may need. We will do what we can to help you. We would ask you to contact us at [email protected]

Statement from the Cook County Chamber of Commerce 
The board of directors of the Cook County Chamber strongly applauds actions taken by non-essential businesses, including most Cook County lodging properties,  to begin the process of shutting their doors to guests for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. The board also strongly urges all non-essential businesses that have not yet started winding down to begin that process immediately.

During the board meeting-by-phone Saturday morning, several  members offered the use of the facilities and staff to help manage this crisis, all at no cost to the county. The offers included use of empty lodging for those who require quarantine but not hospitalization, use of kitchen facilities and staff to prepare food for whatever need arises, and use of personnel to backstop county employees who are overwhelmed by work. County Board Chair Myron Bursheim and Interim County Administrator Rena Rogers were on the call and expressed gratitude for the offers. While not needed at the moment, she noted, they very well might be critical as this develops. 

The chamber board recognized the complicated and painful process shutting down will involve for businesses, including many owners and managers of lodging properties. The board noted it will be especially complicated for housing complexes that are governed by homeowners associations whose members are scattered far and wide. But the board concluded that closing is a critically important step in the battle against COVID-19 and should be taken as soon as possible for the following reasons:

·       Gov. Tim Walz has been edging closer and closer to declaring that all Minnesotans should “shelter in place.” When that declaration is made, guests at lodging establishments as well as guests visiting residents in Cook County should be already home or on their way. The governor is likely to give a day or two before the order takes effect, but unless lodging managers and residents wish to be responsible for their guests for the next several months of increasing isolation and hardship, they need to see those guests on their way now. 

·       The medical staff at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and North Shore Health has urged this action as a critical step in ensuring the county health care system is not overburdened as they begin to receive and treat patients suffering from COVID-19.

 “With Gov. Tim Walz already urging Minnesotans to stay home, with a shelter-in-place declaration due soon, and with our local medical institutions urging this action, it just makes a great deal of good sense for all non-essential businesses to prepare their properties to close down in an orderly but urgent manner,” said Jim Boyd, executive director for the chamber. “We are gratified that most owners and managers have recognized that reality and taken action to close.

“We all grasp how difficult this action is, for owners and staff. The incomes of many families will be destroyed, and the future of numerous businesses will be endangered. This is an extremely difficult action we request. But it is the right thing to do, for our guests and for the people who call Cook County home. To those who must leave, we say, Godspeed.” 

Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency RESPONSE TO COVID-19 EMERGENCY

As of March 17, 2020 the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) remains open for business, however the safety of and health of our customers, employees, and community are of the utmost importance to us. Like most of you, we at AEOA, are learning more about COVID-19 every day. We will continue to monitor the guidelines and adjust accordingly. At this time we are putting measures in place to respond to the current needs.

As a community action agency, providing over 70 human service programs across the region, we feel it is our responsibility to continue to offer critical community services to those in need within Northeast Minnesota. Our commitment to you is to continue to provide the essential services in a safe and effective manner. We ask that you be patient and respectful to the needs of our whole community.  We are following the recommended measures and guidelines as closely as possible to assure the safety of our employees and customers.   

·        We are taking precautionary steps to disinfect common areas regularly. 

·        We request customers call ahead before coming into the office. 

·        We request customers postpone or cancel appointments if they are sick, have a cough, or have a fever, if these appointments cannot be performed by phone. We are working with program funders to adapt program guidelines to allow for alternative delivery of services where applicable. 

·        The following programs have been adjusted:

o   Head Start classrooms are closing under the Governor’s guidance for schools.

o   Tax-Aid sites are closing.

o   Food Shelves are moving to a pre-boxed service where customers will drive up and receive their food. Customers should call ahead to reserve their food box.

o   The Minnesota Power Conservation Improvement Program is closed until further notice.

o   Additional program closures and adjustments may occur as the situation unfolds.

·        Employees who are showing symptoms of illness are requested to stay home. 

·        All non-essential staff travel, and any non-essential meetings, will be curtailed until further notice.

·        Staff are being provided access to online tools to perform meetings electronically rather than in-person. 

·        AEOA has an Emergency Response team that is meeting daily to address the ever-changing situation. 

·        Up-to-date information will be available on AEOA’s website at

We understand that changes in services may create a hardship for those we serve. We are putting parameters in place to allow staff to stay in contact with our customers as appropriate. AEOA has numerous funding streams with varying responses to the pandemic which guide our decision making. We request patience from our customers and community members during these trying times. We are continuing to monitor the situation and as developments occur, the measures AEOA takes may change based on the most up-to-date guidance from various resources. 

AEOA’s staff are passionate and dedicated to serving our most vulnerable neighbors in their time of need. We believe in our ability to continue to serve our communities at this time of crisis. Northeast Minnesota has a strong history of collaboration and cooperation, thank you for your efforts and understanding as we work together to navigate this crisis.

Cook County Food Shelf
The Cook County Food Shelf will be open EVERY MONDAY 3 o'clock until 5 PM
Different times demand different measures. We will allow only one person at a time to interact with our volunteers. We are trying to keep you safe.  March 30th  for those who Need food. Again 3-5 pm, as usual. April 1st is our first Wednesday of the month open hours.  5 o'clock until 7 PM. Thank you to those who have thought of us during this time..
If you have questions call Gwen 387-9860 Cook County Food Shelf P O Box 51.

Sivertson Gallery Closed through March 27, 2020. Online Shopping Still Open!
We’re staying positive about weathering the storm while our staff shelter in place through March 27, 2020. And to help our artists and give you a needed boost of art therapy, we are offering 15% off all on-line purchases at

Care Partners is Still Here, But Different
A message to Care Partners clients, partners and friends. Care Partners is evolving to help protect our clients, volunteers and staff and respond to the need for seniors to stay safely at home. Care Partners’ office is no longer open to the public. Staff are working remotely, and will return your calls and emails during regular office hours:  M-F, 10 am to 3 pm.  Memory Café and Caregiver Support Group are canceled through the end of April.
  • Telephone Support:  Care Partners companion volunteers and staff will no longer provide in-person visits, but will focus on using phones, and other means to stay in close contact. 
  • Rides will be carefully monitored. For now, we will provide rides only to important medical appointments after careful screening questions to make sure all involved are healthy and have limited exposure. 
  • Delivering Supplies:  Care Partners volunteers will assist, as possible, with delivering supplies to high risk individuals who need to stay safely at home.   Please call Care Partners at 387-3788 or email us at [email protected] if you have any questions, needs or concerns. We appreciate each one of you and are grateful to be part of a strong and caring community.
Lutsen Lutheran Church
In order to protect the health of those in our community who may be vulnerable, Lutsen Lutheran Church has canceled all worship services and gatherings until further notice.   

Grand Marais Art Colony
The Art Colony has cancelled all classes and events through the third week of April, including its upcoming artists-in-residence talks that were scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 21 and its annual Member Show, scheduled for April 24. While staff are in the office and can be reached at 218-387-2737, the buildings are closed to visitor traffic for the next two weeks, and longer pending additional recommendations.

Cook County Community Center
The Cook County Community Center has worked with groups to cancel community events that were scheduled at the Community Center from March 17 – March 31. We are happy to take your phone calls, emails and set up appointments with you as needed.   Please call the office at 387-3015 or Diane’s cell phone at 370-8858 to make sure we are available.
  • CC TAX Volunteers will continue to be here on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. with safety protocols.  You can drop off your taxes and work with a tax volunteer remotely via phone to have our taxes done.
  • Rebel Girls Community Minded Catering will continue to offer food take out from our kitchen during this time period on Mondays and Thursdays if you are signed up on-line with their service.
We will let you know if things change.  Thanks very much for everyone’s patience

Grand Marais State Bank
To our Loyal Customers, 

We understand that what needs to be done to level the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak will take extraordinary measures by the people in our communities. In support of this effort, we have made the following commitments: 

1) Our lobbies in Grand Marais and Tofte will be closed to the public effective March 20th, until further notice. Banking services will be available via our drive through, electronically, and in-person by appointment. Please contact your local Branch to schedule an appointment if necessary.

2)  We are committed to paying the full salaries of all bank staff through May 31st regardless of the time off needed for personal or family accommodations that may be required. No sick time will be charged to our staff during this period. We appreciate their commitment to providing the essential financial functions in today's world. 

3) Upon request, we will extend the next two monthly payments for any commercial or consumer loan without fees to our customer. These payments do not need to become a source of stress.

Masses Suspended at St. John's & Holy Rosary Catholic churches 
In a directive today, Father James Bissonette, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Duluth, announced additional measures to help stem the spread of Covid-19. In the new directive, all public Masses, daily and weekend, are suspended through April 20, effective Friday, March 20. People are encouraged to watch the Mass on television and/or pray other devotions. Parish office telephones will be monitored for messages. 218 387-1409. You can also visit our website at Stay well!

City of Grand Marais Services during Covid-19
To protect public health and slow transmission of COVID-19 all City buildings are closed to the public until further notice (Liquor Store, Library, City Hall & Rec Park). The City will continue providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates available at

To protect the public's health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19 we ask the community to access our services remotely. The City will continue to provide essential services during COVID-19's impacts to our community. City Staff will be here ensuring we’re prepared and responding. Updates are available at
Links for Federal, State and County updates:

Accessing Grand Marais Services without Coming To City Hall

Getting in touch with us
Call City Hall at 218-387-1848
    Email us at [email protected]
    Viewing Public Meetings
    Meetings of the City Council will be live broadcast on

    Filling out paperwork
    Mail your documents to PO Box 600 Grand Marais, MN 55604
    Scan and email your documents to [email protected]
    Drop off documents in our dropbox at 15 N Broadway
    Most of our forms are available at
      If you are looking for a form that you can't find on the website give us a call at 218-387-1848 or email us at [email protected]

      Ways to pay your utility bill
      Mail your payment to PO Box 600 Grand Marais, MN 55604
      Drop off a payment in our dropbox at 15 N Broadway
      Call Payment Service network at 1-877-885-7968
      You can pay your bill online via

      Bethlehem Lutheran Church
      Bethlehem Lutheran has canceled all worship services in our sanctuary until further notice.  We encourage all members and friends to remain home, and be a part of this shared effort of keeping our social distance for the sake of one another.  Meanwhile we are working at providing our Wednesday evening service and our Sunday morning service on our Facebook page (") and on our website.

      We also provide a daily devotion, Monday through Friday, called "Daily Manna".  If you would like to receive this and other notices from our office please contact [email protected] or via phone at 387-2227. 

       We plan to add more resources as we continue to grow into technology which will include Bible Studies, meetings and Confirmation classes via Zoom interactive conferencing; and references for children; etc.      

      God bless you in these times of uncertainty.

      Spirit of the Wilderness Episcopal Church
      Spirit of the Wilderness has cancelled public liturgies at the Maple Hill Chapel.  For as long as it is possible, a Sunday service will be live-streamed via the Spirit of the Wilderness Episcopal Church Facebook page at 10:30 a.m.,  then archived for later viewing

      Buck's Hardware will help with pickups for Grand Marais merchants
      Dear Grand Marais business folk: If you are doing business via online or telephone sales and need to arrange for people to pickup their prepaid orders, Stephen Skeels at Buck's Hardware is volunteering to help: If people need to pick up things they have purchased from you, at times when  you will not be able to be in your place of business, you can leave packages at Buck's for pick up there.  Buck's staff is well versed in this activity because they serve as points of service for UPS and Speedy Delivery.  It is incredibly generous and community minded of Stephen to offer this service. This is the sort of attitude that will help us survive this crisis.  From Cook County Chamber of Commerce - March 19, 2020

      Grand Marais DMV and Terra Bella closing Friday, March 20
      Grand Marais DMV and Terra Bella Floral will be closing at 5 pm Friday, March 20 until further notice.  I need to protect my family and friends.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  Stay safe and stay home everybody.  Thanks,  Sandi

      Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply
      Stone Harbor is closed to the public for general shopping. We are still offering curbside pick up for merchandise and rentals daily from 10am-6pm.   Online shopping can be currently done on Ebay and we are working to set up our online store. Customers can also call the store and in most cases we ship for free.  You can still rent equipment!  Call 218-387-3136 to reserve your rental over the phone and it will be available for pick up outside our front door.

      Here are some things you can rent:

      *Cross Country Ski Package $45
      *Snowshoes $25
      *Hok Skis $45

      *Winter Tents: Snowtrekker Tents, Seek Outside Tipi Tents, Pulk Sleds

      *Camp Gear: stoves, dishes, sleeping bags, pads, cots etc..

      We encourage you to continue to practice social distancing in the great outdoors on our state and federal land.

      Cook County Tax VITA Service CLOSED Until Further Notice
      The Cook County Tax VITA Service will be CLOSED until further notice.   The deadline to submit your taxes has extended now until July 15, 2020.  We will open again when it is safe to do so.  Thanks for your patience.  Please call Diane at 387-3015 if you have question

      Isak Hansen and Sons
      For our Community and Customers:
      With the COVID-19 developments, we want you to be assured that your health
      and the health of our staff and families is important to us.
      As of now, we will remain open our regular hours 7 days a week to serve our
      community. We ask that you practice social distancing while in our store.
      Disposable gloves are available if needed. We do sanitize the counters and credit
      card machines between transactions. Our staff are happy to assist you, but will
      keep required distance and other safety measures.
      If you prefer to order in and have it delivered to outside, please call 663-7201 and
      we will assist. Also, if you are under travel restrictions yourself, we may be able
      to deliver to your home/site within our normal work areas and schedules.
      If you need services, we ask that you make it possible for our staff to access your project site safely and cleanly. We will also have our service personnel clean and sanitize work areas as appropriate.  If the order comes from the state of Minnesota to shelter-in-place, we may be
      considered essential services and able to continue operating. We may make
      adjustments to our operations to reflect new conditions and to insure everyone’s
      safety. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.
      Respectfully yours,

      Tom Dwyer
      CEO – Isak Hansen

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