Just hours after Gov. Tim Walz gave the “stay at home” order Wednesday, March 25, the Perham City Council approved the Mayor’s Declaration of a Local Emergency at a Special City Council meeting.

By approving the Mayor’s Declaration of a Local Emergency the City Council will be able to place further restrictions on the city if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in Perham. The declaration also allows the city to apply and be approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for relief aid if need be, without declaring a local emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic now the city would not be able to apply for FEMA.

The City Council also approved an extension on the Cold Weather Rule for utility customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension will last until May 30, helping those who need help paying their heating bills. The extension will help with setting up payment plans and wave late fees.

The governor's “stay at home” order has made this extension of the Cold Weather Rule necessary and will extend the rule for those who are already behind on payments. The Cold Weather Rule is not heating bill forgiveness but is a way to help people struggling to pay their heating bills do so.

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